Seasonal Maintenance and Home Safety for Seniors

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Updated 8/1/17 1:16pm | Alert1 knows winter weather is hard on a home, especially if the weather is severe. See our related article here on winter proofing your home. Now that more moderate weather is arriving, it's a good time for spring maintenance and cleaning. Assessing both the inside and outside of the home is important. Having an annual routine can help spot issues before they become problems and, ultimately, maintain property values.

Understandably, up keeping your property is more difficult as you age. Breaking down these improvement tasks into stages helps to make a big project into a more manageable one.

We’ve also made it easy for you divide the labor by ranking the complexity of each task. Our spring home-improvement tips below can help you and other aging seniors maintain and enhance your homes. 

Outdoor Surfaces and Structures

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Now is a good time to get outdoor entertaining areas spruced up. Many people begin by prepping their lawns and planter beds for spring, as well as cleaning up debris strewn about during winter storms. Here is the list of outdoor structures you should check.

  • Watering systems
  • All decks or walking surfaces around the house 
  • Fences and trellises
  • Yard and garden
  • Patio furniture and grills

Special Attention to Windows

Aside from the above list, make sure to check all windows, caulking, and weather stripping. This helps ensure you have no leakage that will allow warm summer air in and cooled indoor air out.

If windows developed any condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter, it can mean the weather seal has been breached. Once the windows have been deemed airtight, it is the perfect time for a thorough cleaning of all glazing and screens.

Spring Clean Indoors

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If moderate weather has not arrived yet, it makes sense to start inside. Many people do “spring cleaning”, including often neglected areas such as baseboards, window casings, and the tops of wall-mounted cabinets. Here are the steps to take for a clean home.

  • Thoroughly vacuum or steam clean. With allergy season just around the corner, it is a great time to ensure the house is allergen free. Do this for all upholstered furniture, mattresses, and carpet.
  • Wipe down the kitchen counter and walls. Kitchens can build up an invisible layer of greasy residue without the homeowner even realizing it. This is the perfect time to clean the walls with warm soapy water and a sponge. 
  • Repair leaky faucets, clogged drains, faulty connections, and damaged pipes. This includes the washing machine and water heater, which both need seasonal maintenance.

It is essential to remove traces of mold or mildew before it becomes an eye sore or health risk. Take time to wipe down and repair anything that could risk your safety. 

Roof and House Foundation

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It never hurts to inspect the house from top to bottom. When you were younger, you may have climbed up on the roof to inspect for damage. Here are some methods to check the roof.

  • Use your best pair of binoculars. From the ground, check for roofing material that is missing, shifted, or in need of repair. Any of these conditions can indicate that water is penetrating your roof. 
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts. Extendable gutter cleaning tools make light work of clearing any blockage while keeping both feet on the ground. 
  • Inspect the chimney. Hire a vendor to check for plant growth or white deposits. The presence of these things may indicate that masonry joints are absorbing water, rather than repelling it.
  • Cover exposed spots on your walls and foundation. Check for trouble spots under the eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains may indicate that runoff is also running down the walls and not just in the gutters. 
  • Check wood sidings for openings, damaged areas, or knots. The last thing a homeowner needs is to invite ants, termites, or other pests inside. 

If you're worried about accidents while cleaning the roof, get a home medical alert system. This device you to press a button for help in case of an emergency. Otherwise, consider hiring a roof specialist to assist your renovations.

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Home Appliance, Attic and Basement Maintenance

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These important appliances and structures are part of our daily lives. We cook on them, we wash clothes, we store seasonal clothes. That's why it's crucial you pay attention to their maintenance with these steps.

  • Deep clean home appliances. Unplug everything from theh stove to washing machines for a thorough wipe down. Dust may have settled in units, so you need to change the filter on a regular basis.
  • Check the attic for insects or critters invasion. These look like cracks, nests, droppings These critters may be small, but they are mighty and can cause a lot of damage. 
  • Look for dark blotches or stains can indicate the presence of mold. If detected, consult a professional about abatement measures immediately. The attic should have proper ventilation, as well as be clean and dry to prevent growth.
  • Feel for humidity in the basement. A damp basement can suggest that there is not enough ventilation or too much humidity. If water is getting into the basement, there will be signs of it in the bottom of the cracks. These could be from exposed wooden panels or tunnels.

The key aspects to remember is keeping everything dry and clean. You prevent any water damage and bacteria from spreading around the home or your body.

The Perfect Home Keeps You Safe

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Just as you look after yourself with annual checkups, seasonal home maintenance helps preserve and maintain your property as you age in place. There's a broad spectrum of projects to be done, and as we age we cannot tackle them alone.

Before starting a new project, remember to gauge the complexity of each home improvement project carefully and delegate as needed. Make sure to wear your fall detection help button while working on home projects. That way, the pendant will still signal for help even if you fall and can't speak. 

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