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?

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