Independence is important to seniors and retirees. Living independently can be challenging for those 65 and older. But many feel it’s worth the effort if it means they can remain in the place where they raised their children; babysit their grandkids; and host holiday celebrations and family dinners. The most important thing is to be safe. If you are a senior there are ways to make exterior home maintenance easier for you to manage.
Know Your Own Limits
It’s a given that you won’t be able to maintain and repair your home’s exterior in the same manner you did 20 years ago. Assess what you can still do now safely, with minimum strain and effort. For example, you can wash the siding, driveway, and windows, but can’t climb or stand on a ladder. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to clean the gutters or inspect and repair the roof. Hire a professional gutter cleaning service or roofing contractor if necessary.
Make a Schedule
Two years go by and all of a sudden you realize that the roof hasn’t been cleaned or you can’t remember the last time you de-gunked the gutters. Draw up a plan for the year, divided into seasonal tasks. Once you know what has to be done and when it will be easier to stick to a schedule. It will also be easier to budget for those home maintenance chores you might not be able to do for yourself. Parts of your home’s exterior that need regular attention are:
- the roof – sweep away debris, clean off dirt, remove moss (annually)
- the gutters – remove debris from inside the gutter channel; clean the outside of the gutter sections (twice a year)
- siding – inspect for damage (twice a year); wash siding (annually)
- the foundation – check for cracks, pitting, and washed-out areas of soil (annually)
- hardscape surfaces – power wash the driveway, a deck, a patio, pathways, etc. (annually)
Find out What’s Available
Ask about any municipal and provincial senior assistance programs that help with home maintenance and repair costs for those who want to keep living in their own homes. Also check out any applicable non-profit agencies that will paint a house, build a ramp, clear out the gutters or clean the windows for a minimal fee or the cost of materials.
Break Down the Task into Stages
Most home maintenance chores such as cleaning the gutters, repairing siding, and washing exterior windows can be broken down into stages. First, gather together all the tools and equipment you’ll need. Second, do the prep work like closing the windows or covering plants and shrubs with a tarp. Third, tackle the chore. Take frequent breaks.
Invest in a Maintenance Plan
When you’re on a fixed income every cent counts, making it harder to budget for things like home repairs and maintenance services. Some roofing and gutter companies offer senior citizens maintenance plans at affordable prices. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but if it means being able to remain in your home while keeping the house in great shape (think resale value), it’s a good investment.