Many families are aware of how quickly healthcare and living expenses can add up for an older loved one who is still at home. Those expenses are typically monitored and budgeted. But many seniors neglect to track the expenses to maintain their home.
Start 2018 off right by creating a system to record what it takes to keep your senior safe in their home.
To Start: Address Safety Hazards that exist in the home
- Throw Rugs
- Poor Lighting
- Pets. The emotional benefits of keeping a pet as a companion usually far outweigh the safety risks but simple things like adjusting where food/water is served and having an easy, slip free path to let them in and out, are small changes that can fend off accidental falls.
- Old or unstable furniture
- Extension cords across walkways
- Cracks in sidewalk
- Bathroom!!! The CDC reports the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. Falls were the cause of 80 percent of all bathroom accidents, causing serious injuries like hip fractures. Older Americans had the highest fracture rates and were hospitalized most often. Many of these accidents could be prevented with the installation of grab bars to aid with balance. Adjusting toilet seat height and adding bathtub mats or nonskid strips to help reduce bathtub falls are also helpful.
In addition, inventory all the one off repairs that need to be done. Putting the most urgent repairs at the top of the list.
Finally, make a list of weekly, monthly upkeep items that need to be done to maintain the home. Remember that for some homes this list will be seasonal.
- Spring sprinkler start-up/ Fall blowout
- Summer Mowing/ Landscaping
- Fall Leaf clean up
- Winter Snow Removal
Try reaching out to family members (even extended) and neighbors to help with seasonal items. A kid from the neighborhood may want to make some extra money over the summer mowing once a week. There are also programs exclusively geared towards connecting volunteers with seniors in the community.
Tips to succeed:
- Be sure to build this list with the help of the senior homeowner, not for them. They likely have input about things you wouldn’t think of, after all it is their home. They will be more likely to embrace the process if they are actively involved.
- Update the list quarterly. Some items may not need to be done weekly and can be rescheduled to bi-weekly. New items may come up that need to be added.
- Track all expenses. Not just the scheduled items but more importantly the unexpected ones that pop up too.
By the end of 2018 your family should have a detailed picture of what it takes to properly maintain your loved ones home throughout the year. It can be reviewed annually to source additional help, aid in budgeting for the year to come, and more importantly make sure that maintenance costs aren’t eating away at your senior’s savings.