When Is The Last Time You Checked the Basement?

Posted 1 July 2016

A recent client moved from the home she and her husband built in the 1960’s. For the last decade, she was living alone in the home. Her mobility was restricted the last two years because of physical changes; she required a walker or wheel chair. She and her family made a decision to move into assisted living and sell the residence. Our transition team was engaged to liquidate the household inventory, move the woman and set up her new apartment. Once the residence was liquidated and deep cleaned, the realtor took over. First order of business was a pre-sale home inspection. The result was a four-page list of items that needed repair. The report-included mold in the basement, loose furnace pipes, combustibles in the fireplace chimney, and hazardous waste in the garage and basement.

brokenFurnacePaintStripping_1Walking into the home, everyone commented how wonderful is looked and how well kept! The visible areas had been cared for over the decades. It was the infrastructure and areas the owner could not easily access or see that created the problem and prevented an immediate listing of the residence.

You take your vehicle to the dealer on regular basis to keep it running. As we age, there are preventative tests that are recommended to keep the body fit and healthy. There are even recommendations for your electronics to keep them in peak working order. When is the last time the home’s infrastructure was checked?

Aging in place and remaining independent is an objective for many seniors. It is common to have a cleaning service, home care, or others who come into the residence to keep it clean. There are spaces that simply are harder to access as our bodies age – the back of closets, electrical sockets, basement, AC/Heating systems, pipes, and more.

The issue is compounded when the residence, itself, ages. Visible areas are most regularly kept up to date – paint, decor, lighting. Furnace, water pipes, drains; vents probably are original with the building of the residence.

It is imperative to regularly check the residence’s infrastructure to ensure the health and safety of those living in the residence, and to maintain the value of your home when it is sold.

Here are some ideas for your residential watch list:

  • Clear, accessible fire-escape routes.
  • Smoke alarms on every floor and outside every bedroom. Check the batteries in the alarms regularly.
  • Carbon monoxide detector that sounds an alarm.
  • Fire extinguisher in the kitchen that can be used by an elder.
  • Monitors and intercoms.
  • Lighting — stairways, porches, and outside walkways.
  • Protective screens on fireplaces.
  • Exposed hot-water pipes need to be covered.
  • Additional light switches or remote switches (such as those that go on or off with the clap of hands).
  • Remove raised doorway thresholds.
  • Remove throw rugs.
  • Remove stacks of magazines, books, clothing, and clutter.
  • Repair loose carpet or raised areas of flooring.
  • Move furniture and electrical cords out of walking pathways.
  • Use nonskid floor wax.
  • Sturdy handrails to stairways.
  • Install grab handles in bathrooms.
  • Nonskid mats inside and outside your shower or tub and near the toilet and sinks.
  • Move storage of household items on lower shelves so that you can easily reach them.
  • Table or area near the main entrance to place packages and groceries while closing a door or carrying items into the residence.
  • Elders should check these items on a quarterly basis or involve a caregiver, family member, or friend.

The Transition Team is available to provide a no-cost consultation and conduct a walk through of your residence to identify any issues or challenges that could create health or safety issues for elders. Contact our offices at 317.4964995 or info@t3transitions.com for more information.