Anyone who has ever owned a home knows there comes a time, or several times, when work is required on our home.  When this writer was much younger and had a more affluent lifestyle, the practice was to make a different improvement each year-the roof one year, the furnace another and so on.  However, as one gets older and faces retirement income, the realization sets in that these major improvements are difficult, at best, to face.  We now have to set priorities as to what work will be done and when.


The first thing to do is make a list of work that must be done in order to keep the house safe and cost effective.  A knowledgeable and experienced general contractor should be able to help you with this.  Also, your local gas and electric vendors usually provide free efficiency checks.  After consulting with the contractor and vendors, decide on the most necessary projects as well as the means to pay for it.  Remember that many projects run over budget because contractors often estimate a project, then, as they start work, find construction flaws in the building that will cause additional corrective work to be done.  Also, many states have laws governing when contractors can expect payment, however, most laws require that the contractor be able to collect payment on a regular basis in order to provide money for materials and payroll.  Therefore, one needs to make sure enough cash is available before starting the project.  It is probably best to talk to your bank about providing some type of lending as a financial cushion.


Once financial arrangements are made, start considering the projects.  Depending on the age and condition of the roof this might be the first thing to consider.  A leaking roof can cause much damage, so it is best to replace that before any issues develop.  An energy efficient furnace and hot water tank can save a lot of money in heating and hot water costs.  Along with that, new, energy efficient windows can stop draughts, save on cooling and heating costs and make the home much more comfortable.  A final priority is not only grounding electrical outlets but also having an electrician check the wiring in the walls as well as making sure there is enough power distribution to handle all the power requirements of the house.  If internal wiring is frayed or insufficient, it can start a fire.  Many are killed or seriously injured each year in home fires.  If you have older relatives or children living in the home, you will also need a safety inspection to make sure sufficient precautions are taken for their safety. 


Once these improvements are made, you can start deciding on other items that increase the value of the home and make it more enjoyable.  As a retired real estate broker, I have experienced that an updated kitchen, bathroom, new driveway, garage door and landscaping all add to the value and increase the salability of the home. 


Construction can be very difficult for seniors.  Contractors often come early, before a senior’s wake-up time.  Privacy for toileting, showering, eating and other activities no longer exists.  Their favorite areas may be disturbed and there is the noise of power saws and other tools.  Preparations need to be made for their care and comfort.  That is when we can help.  Once you know the construction schedule, call us.  We can get to know the seniors before the start of construction so they will feel at ease with our caregivers.  We can help you plan a routine to ease the stress level thru pleasant activities and even leaving the home with them.  We can also plan healthy and delicious meals to enjoy.  And remember, conversation is important during these times.  Our caregivers are very good at that.