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Home Maintenance Tips and Resources for Seniors

Written by Casey Kelly-Barton
 about the author
4 minute readLast updated April 20, 2023

A person’s home is usually their biggest investment. It’s important to keep up with maintenance, but that can be harder to do as we get older. If your loved one is looking to stay in their own home, here’s a list of must-do chores and tips on finding help with costly but necessary repairs.

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Keep an eye on the roof

Once a year, and after severe weather events, it’s important for your parents to check their roof for damaged shingles and vents. They should do this inspection from the ground and leave the rooftop work to professionals to avoid a fall.
If their trees have grown to touch or hang over the roof, suggest they hire an arborist to trim them back.
Maintaining the rain gutter system is crucial, too. It’s wise to hire someone to clean and repair gutters and downspouts annually.

Watch the walls

Another annual chore is to check for holes, cracks, and peeling paint on interior walls and exterior siding. Patching and painting small holes and cracks can be a do-it-yourself project for some homeowners. If there are signs of mildew or large cracks, it’s best to call a professional to inspect the damage.

Focus on the foundation

Your parents should check their home’s foundation every year for signs of cracking or damage. Obvious signs include major cracks in walls and siding, interior doors that won’t stay open, and floors that slant to one side. Foundation work can be costly, so it can help to shop around and check customer reviews before hiring a company for repairs.

Step up floor and path maintenance

Cracked tiles, wrinkled carpet, and heaved walkways are dangerous tripping hazards. Call a flooring professional or handyman as soon as you or your parents notice any of these issues around their property.

Pay attention to plumbing and sewer systems

Your parents should check their water heater for leaks every month, especially if it’s older.
Whenever they clean, suggest that they check for leaks under sinks. Drainpipes, water lines, or faucets may need to be repaired or replaced if they’re leaking.
If their home has a septic system, it should pumped at least every 5 years to prevent problems that can lead to costly repairs.
Cleaning and/or replacing water filters as needed is another important task that can help your parents avoid issues.

Take charge of the electrical system

Ensure your parents test ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet switches once a year by pushing the test button. This should cut the flow of electricity to the outlet. Then push reset. If any of the outlets are broken, they should have an electrician replace them.
Replacing burned out lightbulbs as needed is a no-brainer. But upgrading bulbs may help your parents save money.
Insist that your parents pick up and relocate any electrical cords that cross walkways – they’re a tripping and fire hazard.

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Be safe with natural gas

Pilot lights on gas-powered appliances should be checked regularly, and the emergency shut-off gas valve should be visually inspected once a year.

Clear the air in the home

Check that your parents’ heating and air conditioning filters are changed according to the manufacturer’s schedule, usually monthly. If they can’t keep up with filter changes, ask an HVAC maintenance provider about long-lasting filters that can be changes during regular maintenance appointments.
Dryer vents and range hood vent outlets should be kept clear of debris. Vacuuming out the dryer exhaust line or hiring a professional to clean it once a year is a good idea. The grease filter on the range hood should be cleaned at least once a year, or more often if your parents cook a lot.
If your parents’ house has a basement, check the humidity levels. Adding a dehumidifier may help prevent mildew.
Fireplaces should be kept clean and inspected by a chimney sweep each fall before use.

Double-check doors and windows

Twice a year, your parents should check their home’s exterior doors and windows to make sure the locks work properly, all weather-stripping is in good shape, and the hardware is secure.

Assess alarms and safety gear

Everyone should test the smoke detectors throughout their home monthly and replace the batteries in each one at least monthly. If your parents have a carbon monoxide detector and/or personal emergency response system, encourage them to include these in their regular testing, too.
Don’t forget to check the expiration dates on all fire extinguishers.

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Use these home maintenance resources

If your parents need help paying for repairs to their home, there are some community and government options available. The Huffington Post has a long list here. Your parents can also contact their local Area Agency on Aging and utility companies if they help with home repairs.
This list will get you started, but you can help your parents much more if you wish. This Old House offers a detailed printable home inspection checklist for annual use. Lifehacker has another list that includes annual deep cleaning chores that can help keep appliances in top shape, too. It’s also a good idea for your parents to declutter regularly, which can make downsizing easier later on. Keeping up home maintenance is a lot of work, but it can pay off if your parent wish to age in place for as long as possible.


Meet the Author
Casey Kelly-Barton

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom (of which OurParents is a trademark) and the reader.  Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site.  Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.