By Tyra Oldham
The summer is the time when children, family, and friends gather together at home. Home is the safe place to rest, collect memorable and store a family’s life’s work in pictures and furniture. For many, the home is the most expensive purchase most people will make. Consider the care and cost of maintaining a home.
As a caregiver to a family member, it was my job to recreate my family home to support the age and health of my mother. The project started in a bathroom and expanded to the house. The importance of care to the home is vital, especially if you or your loved one will retire in this house.
For many, the working years are when painting, sealing, and roofing is complete because, after a hard day’s work, these are the most obvious things to repair. While working is the time to inspect the health of the home truly. It may be too late or out of budget upon retirement to consider the condition of the house to repair extensive plumbing, electrical, and foundation.
Consider while working, a homeowner has more available cash to support the maintenance of the home. So current or future caregivers to family or spouses, the time to perform home care is now. Start to look beyond the cosmetics and assess the current and future state of the home. The work of future and present caregivers is to maintain the family home to support the family’s needs. Do not put off performing the hidden repairs that lay behind the walls or under the floors.
The tip is for current and future caregivers of loved ones to inspect the home and start repairs while working. The trap is that you live in a home while working and pay for it when you retire and on a fixed income and cannot repair the house. On a fixed income, it is hard to gain access to cash for extensive repairs. While working, start a care plan for the home.
Just as you have a care plan for your health, one is necessary for the home. The care plan for the home consists of doing a deep dive into the home’s health. Set a ten-year plan and budget to repair the whole house, then start to assess good contractors; this is most challenging. A starting budget to improve the home can run anywhere from $20K-$100K, including labor, hardware, and supplies. Here are some planning tips:
1) All the plumbing, including stacks.
2) All electrical, including coming up to code with sockets and wiring.
3) Check the foundation for leaks and structural changes.
4) Assess driveways and walkways for soundness and what is needed if health changes over the next ten years.
5) Change the bathroom for access and fixtures for safety and comfort.
6) Assess access points are steps in the future or are one level ideal.
7) Have a sell or transfer plan for the house if planning to leave to children or organizations.
8) Last but significant, start placing grab bars in the bathroom and railings in the home for safety.
The home is the safe place where many will retire. If you have already retired and home is a challenge, consider agencies to assist the elderly such as People Working Cooperatively. Let the home be a place to relax and not become a burden for the family or others; it’s never too late for home care.
For more information on care support and caregiving advice, write or email the “Care Corner.” Want to discuss care? Care Corner is that place to talk care, address questions for current and potential caregivers, and provide suggestions on agencies, services, and tips to assist in a care journey. (Read more of the article from the Herald Newspaper– subscribe now)
The Care Corner is for everyone, no matter their age or process in care. For more information on caregiving, send your questions to Care Corner at the Cincinnati Herald or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.