A senior is excited about his home repairs

Home repairs for senior citizens

There’s no place like home. As seniors grow old, they often want to age in place in their family home. However, keeping up a house can sometimes require more maintenance and repairs than planned. In particular, seniors are more vulnerable physically and financially, making home repairs potentially difficult to do and pay for. Luckily, seniors may be able to get help with home repairs. Let’s go over the best programs and organizations to get home repairs for senior citizens, so that they can stay safe and comfortable in their homes.

Dangers of postponing home repairs for seniors

For seniors aging in place, putting off home repairs can be potentially dangerous. This isn’t just from a safety point-of-view. Home repairs are necessary for seniors to stay safe from any deteriorating materials, but also for their health. In the case of water damage or mold removal, these repairs can impact seniors’ health. At the same time, a broken AC can also mean a senior spends a hot summer without any relief, increasing the risk of heatstroke.

Moreover, if a home becomes too deteriorated, family members may worry about the safety, health and well-being of their loved one. In this case, a senior may be pressured to move. Ultimately, this may be against their wish to age in place in their family home. It’s thus important that home repairs for seniors are made as timely as possible to avoid having to relocate.

Common home repairs for seniors

What exactly are common home repairs for seniors? This will depend on every home, but some common issues may include:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Electricity
  • Replace or repair water heater
  • Repair or replace pipes
  • Water damage
  • Septic system repair
  • Clogged drain/toilet
  • Heating or air conditioning repair
  • Mold removal
  • Termite damage
  • Siding repair
  • Deck or driveway repair

These are typical home repairs that seniors may require. You’ll want a licensed technician to identify any underlying problems and find out what repairs are necessary. 

Home repair assistance for seniors

Home repair assistance for seniors is essential to keep homes safe and comfortable. There are a handful of programs available to get this assistance. Depending on the repair required and the place of residence, seniors may be eligible for different programs. Often federal and state programs are based on low-income, but they may also take into account age and other traits like being a veteran. 

Federal programs

  • Weatherization assistance programs (WAP): This program helps reduce utility and energy bills by weathering homes of low-income families. Seniors over the age of 60 are given preference, in addition to those with disabilities and children. You automatically qualify if you receive SSI.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Similar to WAP, this program is designed to reduce energy costs, help pay bills, give assistance during a crisis. It’s intended for low-income families only.
  • Very Low-Income Housing Repair Program (Section 504 Home Repair): This program helps elderly low-income homeowners repair, improve or modernize their homes through grants to remove health and safety hazards.
  • VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant: This program is intended to help veterans buy, build, or change their permanent homes after a service-connected disability.

State programs

  • Department of Aging: Depending on your place of residence, your state may have an active Department of Aging. Look up your state’s site. Many of the federal programs listed above have state-level equivalents. 
  • Medicaid: Medicaid isn’t for all home repairs, just medically-necessary home modifications. This also depends on your state’s Medicaid, so be sure to contact your local program.

Non-profit programs

  • Area Agencies on Aging: You may be surprised to find many local or state-level programs that address elder needs. You can look up your place of residence for more potential resources.
  • Habitat for Humanity’s Home Preservation Program: Habitat for Humanity works on a volunteer basis to help families in need. Their Home Preservation Program helps with jobs such as painting, landscaping, weatherization and minor repair services.
  • Rebuilding Together: Rebuilding Together is dedicated to repairing homes in the community. They have affiliate chapters throughout the country to get help.
  • Volunteers of America: VoA has an entire “Services for Older Adults” to promote affordable housing and home repairs, as well as other senior care issues. 
  • Operation Homefront: Operation Homefront is dedicated to helping veterans in need, whether by offering financial assistance, home equity or other needed supplies. 

Home safety checklist for seniors

As you’re repairing your home, you might also consider some home safety modifications and maintenance ideas for seniors. Some checklist items may include:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as easy-to-reach fire extinguishers.
  • Install good lighting and slip-resistant flooring in and out of the home to prevent falls. 
  • Install grab bars, rubber mats and other aides throughout the home or where falls are likely.
  • Install a sturdy stair railing and window locks on the first floor.
  • Get furnaces, chimneys and electrical systems (fans, space heaters and central AC) inspected once a year.

These basics will ensure that your home stays safe of any potential dangers. Moreover, many of these items can be completed by a family member or friend, as most don’t require professional knowledge.

Final takeaway

A senior’s home is an important part of the aging process. Get help with home repairs by looking up these federal, state and non-profit programs to see whether free or reduced home repairs for seniors are possible. 

If you’re interested in senior care topics, be sure to check out more articles on My Caring Plan.

Sources:

  1. Repairing and Improving a Home, Usa.gov, www.usa.gov

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