Back to the Old Place—How to Care for Your Home as an Older Adult
By Lizzie Weakley
As you get older, you might find it difficult to keep your home well-maintained. Try these tips to ease the burden and make your retirement more enjoyable.
Reduce Your Furniture
It’s easy to accumulate a large amount of furniture over your lifetime. You might be hesitant to part with old couches, extra coffee tables and wardrobes that you don’t use. These items have sentimental value, and it makes sense that you want to keep them around.
However, as you get older, the ability to move freely through your home becomes extremely important. Items that are in the way could cause you to trip and fall; many older adults end up avoiding rooms because they are too cluttered.
Take stock of your extra furniture, and decide what you can part with. Then, rearrange your remaining possessions to allow clear walking paths through every room in your home.
Make a Checklist
It’s easy to forget small maintenance tasks as the years go by. Create a yearly maintenance checklist that will help you stay on track.
Organize maintenance activities by how often you need to complete them. For example, you might need to clean out the fridge once a month, clean the gutters twice a year and mow the lawn once a week in the summer.
Make note of which tasks are easy for you to complete and which ones you might need help with. If your friends and family offer to help, they can reference the list and take a few items off your plate.
Service Your Appliances
Well-maintained appliances simply last longer. If you don’t want to pay for an entirely new water heater out of your retirement fund, you should have a technician check your current one for problems before it breaks.
If possible, make plans with the appropriate contractors for regular maintenance visits. The contractor who handles your air conditioning system services will probably be glad to change out your filters and perform small tune-ups that make your air conditioner last significantly longer.
As you get older, it’s important to realize that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Your friends and family may be willing to help you around the house, but there will be some jobs that you need too consistently or too immediately to wait for someone’s assistance.
When that happens, hire a contractor. You can find someone to help with your landscaping, plumbing repairs and even deep cleaning. Ask the companies about the possibility of senior rates. If you find a contractor you like, hang onto their phone number; developing a good relationship with contractors will make it easier to maintain your home.
Home maintenance isn’t easy at any age. Take things in stride, and remember that caring for your home is an endless cycle; it’s important, but it’s also meant to be enjoyed.