Aging In Place Step 3: Maintenance, Cleanliness, Safety

Maintenence is one the the most important tasks you should do on a schedule – why not make it out in advance of when certain inspections or tasks should be scheduled. Things like range hood filters should be taken down cleaned annually. Buy  replace your existing batteries in the smoke alarms. Make your bathroom kitchen maintenance-friendly easy to clean. Remove or replace old, out-of-date or broken appliances.

The US Product Safety Commission has some pretty strong opinions about checking smoke alarms every month, but we all know that’s not always possible. So put it on your calendar for at least once or twice a year. The other thing that helps is putting in a 10-year life Lithium Battery into your smoke alarms. In recent years, the market has offered battery-powered residential smoke alarms with long-life batteries of up to 10-years. The batteries are lithium 9-volt batteries that contain three 3-volt cells in series. The 9-volt lithium battery is still packaged in a stard 9-volt battery housing (ANSI 1604), which requires no or minor modifications to existing battery-operated smoke alarms. The 9-volt lithium batteries are also sold separately to allow consumers to replace their existing alkaline batteries with long-life batteries.

Something I often find when remodeling kitchens is that the homeowner may have been living for a long time with a non-functioning or extremely out of date appliance. Some are just being used long after their expiration date, some are being used in spite of having some functions that don’t even work. Electrical items of this sort, a shorted out oven, cooktops where all the burners don’t work, etc., are all fire hazards should be removed from the home as quickly as possible. It is recommended by the NKBA that electrical items be replaced at least every 15 years. Use this test for Microwaves, Toasters, Blenders, Washer/Dryers, ToasterOvens, etc.

Flooring that is easy to maintain includes some really nice, up to date Marmoleum (like linoleum, only it is an all-green certified product), some of the new Congoleums, or large format porcelain tiles with small grout lines good efficacy of friction. Make sure your toe-kick baseboards are the same material as the floor. This really helps with making it easy to clean, keeping it clean. If you are doing any remodeling to your kitchen, bedroom or living room, try to get the electrical outlets raised from down by the floor to about 20-24″ high. This will make them easier to reach, especially if you are confined to a wheel chair. Same with wall switches, usually mounted at 55″, dropping them down 10″ making sure they are ‘rocker’ type switches cut down on maintenance, make them easy to reach keep clean.

Most importantly, a bath remodel that includes removing old tile with grout issues, mold in the bathroom, under the floor dry rot, is extremely important. Adding anti-microbial grab bars, instead of the cheap metal ones from big box stores will do wonders for passing around germs as well as keeping you safe. Skirted toilets are a real boon in cleaning – so much easier to clean around the floor the bowl. 

A new coat of paint, a dramatic color, or just a fresh coat can really lift your mood.

Figure out what things you find your self doing or putting off, like cleaning the blinds windows, make a schedule to either do it yourself or call someone to help you get it done. The cleaner, brighter fresher your home is, the more others will want to visit, the happier you will be living in it!