Home Maintenance Solutions

Categories: Articles

Exhibition photo by Yassine El Mansouri
Exhibition photo by Yassine El Mansouri.

As a lead sponsor of Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, AARP Foundation provides tips for keeping homes safe as we age.

According to a survey by AARP, about 90 percent of older adults want to continue living in their homes as they get older. Known as aging in place, it’s a major factor in maintaining quality of life and well-being.

But to create a place of well-being, a home must itself be healthy for residents. Unfortunately, many low-income older adults don’t have sufficient resources to maintain their home.

New research from The Hartford and MIT AgeLab showed 49 percent of all older homeowners surveyed have regular home maintenance tasks. The survey also found home maintenance has become more difficult over time for homeowners age 50 and older.

Timely home maintenance — even relatively small fixes — can help older homeowners safely remain in their homes, and in their communities, for as long as possible.

AARP Foundation, in collaboration with The Hartford and Habitat for Humanity, has recently launched an initiative to examine the capacity of older homeowners — especially low-income homeowners — to keep up with core home maintenance tasks. This home maintenance Initiative will assess how that factor affects their ability to age in place safely.

AARP Foundation’s plan is that the initiative will develop educational assets, in addition to a place-based intervention program in conjunction with Habitat that potentially can be expanded to help older homeowners in communities across the country.

According to Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation, networking is key to producing results to keep homes in decent repair. Speaking to core participants of the initiative last month, Ryerson said, “I’m fully confident, given what I know about all of you, that our collective resources of brainpower and expertise and experience and willpower will produce practical, achievable results.”

Ryerson went on to note that “to achieve healthy housing we need to bring together different actors who may not have had the chance to work together — yet.” Those “actors” could include medical professionals providing health services in the home; carpenters and electricians, especially retired people willing to volunteer their time and talents; and caregivers working with others to make sure a home is safe.

When a home falls into disrepair, it becomes less livable, less healthy — and less valuable. Residents can be imperiled from mold, or more liable to fall. They can become more dependent on public services. Insurers may face more claims, and neighbors and communities can be negatively affected as the value of a property declines.

AARP Foundation and those collaborating on this initiative hope to turn that scenario around, with older homeowners living healthier lives, communities thriving, and everyone benefiting from the greater engagement of older adults in community life.

AARP Foundation is committed to continuing to examine possibilities for coming up with approaches to home maintenance that are both doable and scalable. A home’s health is key to maintaining the health and well-being of all its inhabitants.

This post is part of AARP Foundation’s sponsorship of Making Room: Housing For a Changing America.

AARPF Logo W Tag