DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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23 April 2015

Getting ready for older old age

Hanno and I have spent a lot of time this year and last fixing, painting, rearranging and fluffing our home to prepare it and ourselves for our older old age. We're in the early stage of old age now, the perfect time to assess what we'll need in the future, what work we want to do and are capable of, and to use that information to prepare our home to keep us safe, warm and content in the years ahead.  We don't want to replace furniture and paint verandahs when we're in our 80s. Soon it will be too late to do this work but it couldn't be done too soon because we wouldn't have know what to do.






We also have to make sure we spend our money wisely. So in the past year and a bit, we've enlarged the chicken coop, replaced an extremely long boundary fence, removed two vegetable garden beds, erected a growing trellis for fruit, had the bathroom floors professionally cleaned, replaced an old bathroom vanity unit and mirror, replaced carpet in our bedroom, replaced an 18 year old air conditioner, removed living room curtains and replaced them with timber blinds, bought a new couch, bought new-to-us outdoor furniture, painted the roof and replaced all the old screws, replaced the front door and security door, decluttered our wardrobes and drawers, and in this last couple of months, tiled a small area of the front verandah, painted the floor and updated my office. And we did it all without going into debt or buying anything on credit, we bought when we could afford it and apart from the bathroom floors, bedroom carpet and the verandah tiling, we did the work ourselves.

Everything was done as we could afford it and when we had the time.

I'm not going to tell you it was easy, at times it was exhausting but now we're at the end of it, I'm so pleased we did it. We both feel we're retained the integrity of our home, it's still an expression of us and not a show piece. This work has been made easier because we've done ongoing maintenance and upkeep all through our lives. But now we have to get it right. Money isn't automatically replaced with our wages every month as it was in the past and it's vital we get the best value for the money we have.







Ongoing home maintenance is essential, not only on a monthly basis with lawn mowing, gutters, cleaning floors, ovens and fridges, but also with a longer view. If you have a plan to replace, renovate and modernise as you progress through the years, you won't come to a point when you have to do it all at once. There will come a time when, like us, you'll have to do the last of the big jobs so you'll remain independent and comfortable in old age, but if you've kept up your maintenance before that point, it will be much easier and cheaper to do those later important renovations.

How do you manage this in your home?


27 comments:

  1. Goodness it sounds liike you have both been very busy, the only other thing I think would be good is raised veggie garden beds, even if they were just up to knee level I am sure it would be easier to work with.
    Good to hear you had a lovely Birthday and visit with Trish.

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  2. This resonates with me, though I'm at a different stage in life - it's so much like the "nesting" periods I've gone through with my pregnancies! There is such an intense drive to prepare things ahead of a big transition. What a ton of work you've both accomplished in the past year. Time to sit back and enjoy it for awhile :)
    -Jaime

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  3. Sounds very wise to do these big jobs over a period of time to have it all done. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  4. Rhonda, you are so fortunate that you and Hanno are on the same page as regards planning for the future. It is certainly a very wise thing to do. Growing older does have its challenges.

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  5. can't say i've been on top of the maintenance, not that i know how to for most. need a few tools to help with some of it. though i will probably pay the handy man to do most of them
    great post

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  6. Rhonda, You really are such an inspiration. Your words always give me the little push I need at just the right times. Our gutter needs replacing, but there always seems to be something else to spend the money on, like electricity bills! I am going to put aside 'gutter-money' each week until there is enough to get it done.

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    1. Good on you, Stephanie. It just takes a bit of organising with the money and the will to do it. Good luck, love.

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  7. We are of differing ages so are in the process (nearly done) of getting as much work sorted for my husband whilst he can still manage. He has just built us another log store this week out of bits and pieces we had stored. Raised beds for summer vegetables are great and save my back a lot of trouble. House is just about as good as it can be. Such a good idea. We prepare for babies and children in the house, why not old age as well.

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  8. Gosh you guys have done an amazing job. I count my blessings everyday for a handy husband like Hanno!! We are just doing a little reno on our kitchen. We brought our house 10 yrs ago and in that time we have added a new room to the back, a garage, painted outside, painted most of inside, changed carpet, and now we are working on gradually in the next 3 years re doing all of the kitchen. We haven't gone into more debt but done it when we saved the money and could afford it. Today I decluttered 5 garbage bags (I know!!!!) of things I've been pointlessly hoarding for years. I have put a little give away on my blog of your little penguin book "simple life" for anyone who would like it - here is the link http://agluttonouswife.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/a-simple-life-give-away.html I hope that's ok but I'd rather it go to a home that needs it :)
    Warm regards, Jan x

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  9. My favourite photo is the 'father and son' working on that gutter together. That speaks volumes.

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    1. Hi Rhonda,

      although I'm at an earlier stage, I have just started planning for some home maintenance and appliance replacement. I realised that time has flown since I bought the house and that some jobs are getting pressing, such as painting the exterior of the house.
      I have a 14 year old fridge and an old washing machine which I should be budgeting to replace. My car is about 8 years old and I plan to use it for as long as possible, but it won't see me to the end of my working life (I can't get to work on public transport). It's a little bit sobering to imagine the cost of everything that will need fixing/replacing, but better to get it on paper rather than worrying about it!

      Madeleine.x

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  10. I find this subject really interesting. I am about 15 years younger than you but I am already thinking about how we will live in our home when we retire. We renovated our kitchen last year as we could afford it and it is pretty much just how i wanted it - loads of bench space so I can do a few things at once, plenty of storage but no overhead cupboards as I'm too short to reach the high parts so didn't bother. Now we are saving for new low maintenance flooring. All along the way I am trying to de clutter so we have just what we need and end up in a house that feels really homely. We have some solar panels that were here when we bought the house but I thinks we will eventually upgrade the inverter and get more panels. I love it that we have an under cover area to dry clothes that gets a breeze most of the time. We don't have a huge yard but we have some fruit trees, plenty of herbs and salad greens. I've been experimenting with wicking (self watering) gardens in big pots that I can move into the shade during summer and out again in winter to maximise what space I have. I am hoping that pre retirement I will work part time and then have the time to sew or knit and make more jams and preserves. Whilst it is very expensive to get into the housing market now it is so good that we have the internet for gumtree and you tube - not to mention inspirational blogs!

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  11. I live alone on 12 acres in a beautiful valley in Victoria .Unfortunatly I'm not well ( lesion in my brain ) so the maintenance jobs only get done when family or friends come to visit and have time ! At this stage I'm just pleased to be able to stay in my own home and enjoy the view ! Love reading your blog & comments from other readers such inspiration!

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    1. Sorry to hear that you are not well, Gayle. You live in a beautiful part of the world, that is for sure. We have just spent a month touring South East Gippsland around Rosedale, Moe (& the surrounding area...Warragul, Morwell, Traralgon, Walhalla, Morwell) Toora, Leongatha, Wilsons Prom, Wonthaggi and Phillip Island. Last year we went to Bairnsdale. Genoa and Lakes Entrance. We live on the road in our van and look at places with a view to a place to settle when we can no longer travel. This area would be on our very short list of places. The people are also lovely. My husband is quite handy and we would have given you a hand whilst we we in Victoria. .....maybe on the way back from Tassie. Anyway, keep,well and enjoy the view. Regards Gail.

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  12. Wow! You've done an amazing Job! So wise to do all de work and replacements!

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  13. It sounds like you have been very busy over the past months, you are so wise to plan ahead. My parents have been doing the same. We have just started building a porch on the front of our house. It is something we have been wanting to do since we moved in, twelve years ago. We have now saved enough money to pay for this without borrowing so we are able to go ahead with it. It will be a place to store coats, shoes etc and be a good barrier to stop the cold weather blowing into our house when you open the front door!

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  14. Thank you! My home is fine for now, but I understand the need for upgrades so that I can stay here into my old age. My daughter lives with me so she will be the one to have to carry on when I am unable to. I have plans for some comfort zones, such as a covered patio in the back. We can have our meals out there and I will be able to do some planting and perhaps even dry some clothes on a line when the weather is not soaking wet!
    We are renovating our chicken coop to accommodate more chickens and some geese. (our soon to be watch dogs) I also have an area planned to house my goats. Then there are the big fences still to put up, so the horses can just roam the grounds and eat all the grass we have growing out there. Five acres is a lot to mow, so we are cutting down on critter food buying and letting them eat what's here already!

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  15. We have done a number of major projects lately like getting a new roof put on a few weeks ago and a new gutter system in January. We have been working hard on cleaning out the attic and have that finished. Next up is our garage. Our work is more with an eye on selling this large house and property and downsizing in the next few years. A friend who did some work for us recently pointed out that building a new house instead of buying an existing property would mean that everything is new and we would not need to do any upgrades or heavy maintenance. It is certainly something we are considering. We are ten years younger than you but we are definitely seeing ourselves slowing down and I do not want my husband on ladders maintaining our two story home anymore. I do not want our kids to worry about these decisions as my siblings and I are now doing about my parents.

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  16. Fantastic! You've worked so hard! We are well behind on our maintenance but we're very aware of what needs to be done and it really weighs on our minds. Must move it up the priority list!

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  17. A lot of work but very necessary Ronda. It is good that Hanno is handy. Love the photos, especially the one of the roof where you can see Hanno's shadow. Being of the same age, we have done a similar thing when when we had our van (home) built a year ago now, everything is easy and we can both do everything. It is a well built van and will last us for the rest of our lives. The only thing I should have done is have an hydraulic lifting devise installed to raise the bed as I can see that will become an issue for me over time. Will have to save to have one fitted later.

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  18. Your wise planning has paid off. You have a beautiful home.

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  19. It's good to plan for old age like you have but don't assume that you are definitely going to be incapable in later years. My 82 year old mother still lives in a 3 storey house and is up and down the stairs every day, still goes swimming and does 30 lengths once a week, and she's always gardening and moving pots and tubs of camelias etc around and replanting them in different places. She once thought of downsizing (when she was in her 60's) to a bungalow as she thought she may not be able to manage the stairs eventually, but decided against it, maintaining that it was the the stairs that kept her fit and they have done! And keeping up with the gardening is the secret of a good life as no doubt Hanno will tell you.

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  20. Oh Rhonda, you're such an inspiration! Also I haven't quite reached my 40s yet, my fiancé (OMG I'm still excited to say that!) is 22 years older than me. So while I'm currently working and earning good money, we're able to plan for the future and make things easier for us when we're older. Unfortunately Steve isn't a handyman and we have to get people in to do things but better now where I'm still working than later as I'm planning to retire early, so I can spend a few 'undisturbed' years with Steve doing what we both love before we're getting too old.

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  21. Being the same vintage as you and Hanno, my husband and I have also had serious talks about our future. He has been unable to do any maintenance work for several years with his failing health, so we pay tradesmen which we are happy to do, supporting local economy as well as having big jobs done quickly and professionally. With an inheritance two years ago we've been able to replace the roof, add solar panels, renovate the kitchen, paint the exterior, and build a good chook house. None of which we could have done ourselves, and in doing so we have increased the value of the house.

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  22. We have attended several retirement seminars and it surprised me that so many people think of old age as a one stage event. Including us! Comparing a 65 year old to an 85 year old is like comparing a 5 year old to a 25 year old. Needs, wants and capabilities vary greatly with each passing year. We have been actively planning (and doing) for a time when we will have less mobility and thus require more outside help. In other words doing what we can now to simplify and upgrade but also working at increasing our cash supply to be able to pay for what we cannot do in the future.

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  23. Great work Rhonda and Hanno - clearly you are both committed to preserving your home and living at home for as long as possible.
    We are at a slightly different stage of life, where we have mostly teenage children and live in a large home, with four raised vegetable beds and 5-6 fruit trees that will see us through our "large family" stage. We are then thinking of downsizing in 5 or so years, so we can build a more energy efficient home for our retirement. Interestingly, the townhouse option isn't appealing any longer because I am enjoying home grown vegetables so much! So our downsizing plans may still involve a small plot of land for vegies, a garage housing old cars that my husband can tinker with and a spare bedroom or two for when the kids and their kids come to stay. At times I find myself suffering from significant house envy (our house is 20 years old and starting to date) but I then read through your blog and see how you really appreciate your home, and I realise how much brain space and emotions my house envy is taking up! Thanks for your blog Rhonda - it's such a life/sanity saver.

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