Safety First – House Maintenance

We love our DIYing! There is not much New Zealander’s wont ‘give a go’ first and this especially is true when it comes to house maintenance (read more about our DIY attitude here). However there are a few things that should be considered before starting.

It is important to take note of changes in your ability to perform tasks. As you grow older, changes in your body such as vision problems, weakening muscles and stiffening joints impact mobility. This means that even though, for example, you were able to clean the guttering around your house a couple of years ago, you may not be able to this year.

Knowing what you can safely do can reduce the risk of a fall. Approximately one-third of people aged over 65 years fall each year. Half of all ACC claims and costs in this age group are the result of falls.

Of those people aged over 65 years that fall:

  • 22–60% suffer injuries
  • 10–15% suffer serious injuries
  • 2–6% suffer fractures
  • 0.2–5% suffer hip fractures

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of injury or falls while completing home maintenance:

  • Warm up before commencing any work – this includes some light stretches
  • Wear the appropriate protective clothing and shoes for the task you are about to perform
  • Ensure that work areas are secure, and paths and walkways are flat and non-slip
  • Make sure that all tools and equipment are in good condition
  • Use power tools in a safe manner
  • Take frequent breaks

When you need to call the pros:

If you feel like you are no longer able complete some of the essential home maintenance jobs, it is time to call in a professional. The last thing you want is for your house to fall into disrepair. Also, keep in mind that there are some jobs that just should be left to the professionals. Anything that could affect the water-tightness of your house i.e. roofing materials needing replacement or plumbing issues usually require a professional. If you have a wood-burning fire place, you should get professionals in to inspect and clean it. If pests are an issue, calling professionals are a good idea.

The benefits of hiring a professional is not only having the peace of mind that they have (hopefully) done a thorough job, but they may be able to advise or notice any other things they see that could require attention in the future. They may also keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear, corrosion, holes, loose attachments, etc..

Check out some local options here on Eldernet. Another option is contacting your local Age Concern for advice and recommendations about local services, you can find their contact details here. Also, some businesses offer Super Gold Card Discounts find out more here. 

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.