Aging in Place

Aging in Place

Seniors are staying in their homes longer, otherwise known as aging in place. This is significantly affecting their quality of life, all while dealing with financial issues. 

Being at home allows seniors a higher level of independence, while also reducing the stress of individuals having to relocate. As you can imagine, a sense of connection to personal space becomes heightened as we all age. 

According to Census Bureau projections, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. This, along with a nursing shortage, is causing the assisted living options to increase in price. Staying at home is just one way that seniors are alleviating their living costs.   

We would like to introduce Stearns Home Care, a subsidiary of Stearns Design Build, now provides an annual subscription service that provides regular home maintenance, concurrently allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer. Simultaneously, the service is also available to those who prefer not to do home maintenance themselves or simply don’t have the time.

Owner Hugh Stearns, said, “Over the years, we have noticed that many people move out of their family home and into assisted living because they can no longer maintain the home. This does not need to happen. Helping seniors stay in their home longer falls directly within our mission of providing quality of life in the home and providing environmentally friendly solutions.”

Stearns Home Care service includes a multitude of things such as cleaning gutters, maintaining fixtures and appliances, changing light bulbs and batteries, and checking and repairing weather stripping. A full spectrum of service is provided over six visits annually.

General manager Ben Herrington said, “It is incredibly gratifying to know that we are helping seniors stay in their homes longer. Each person and each home has its own set of stories.”

In addition to the maintenance service, Stearns Home Care is also available to provide aging in place modifications such as ramps and grab bar installation.

Stearns said, “While this service was created to assist people who want to stay in their family home as long as possible, it is also popular with busy people who want their home maintained but don’t have the time or desire to do what it takes. We find that the typical homeowner does only a small amount of the maintenance necessary to maintain a home’s full value and often a lack of maintenance leads to costly repairs and shortened durability.” 

The Importance of Home Maintenance

The Importance of Home Maintenance

We are excited to announce a new division of Stearns Design Build, Stearns Home-Care.

As remodelers, on a daily basis, we see the impact of a lack of maintenance. Often homeowners just don’t know how to do the maintenance. Other times they are busy professionals that don’t have time. The most troubling is when we see elderly people who just cannot keep up with it and have to leave their homes for assisted living sooner than they otherwise would.  We see the unnecessary expense and inconvenience that comes from poor maintenance.

Offering a Home-Care program for routine maintenance was a natural fit for us, as it highlights three of our four core values. Maintaining a home preserves its Quality. This is something we do as an act of Caring for our clients. We are committed to building and maintaining Relationships. We love getting to know our clients and their homes.  Our fourth core value is Honesty, which is transparent in everything that we do.

We know that your family home is your sanctuary and it’s a privilege and an honor to help take care of it.  

Check Grout and Caulk inside the House

Caulk is an important barrier against water and air leaks but it does not last very well.  If the caulk is dried and cracked or if it has come loose you will need to replace it.  When repairing caulk clean all of the old caulk out and clean the surfaces.  Use a hair dryer to make sure that the surface is very dry before you apply caulk. If you are dealing with a gap of 1/8” or larger, we recommend that you use backer rod before applying caulk.  If you are not experienced with a caulk gun, it is a good idea to run a piece of tape along either side of the caulk line, leaving enough room for the caulk to make good surface contact.  Once you have smoothed the caulk you can pull the tape and have a very clean professional looking caulk joint. With the grout you will be checking for a few things. First check to make sure that it is clean.  Dirt and grime can discolor grout.  Often when grout is dirty it will take on more of a modeled look.  Using a cleaning solution scrub a small section of grout to see if it changes color.  If it does it will need to be cleaned.  Depending on how dirty it is, this process will determine how you will need to clean it.  There are specialized, often toxic, grout cleaning products.  Almost always the most important ingredient in cleaning grout is elbow grease.  Once the grout is clean you can check for loose and cracked grout that will need to be removed and repaired.  If the grout does not seem to be overly dirty or in need of repair, check to make sure that the sealer is still working.  If water beads up on it, the sealer is working.  If you have to scrub the grout, clean it or if water did not bead up on it you will need to reseal it.  There are many different sealers on the market. While we specify penetrating grout sealers in new construction they are usually not a good choice for resealing because previously sealed grout will not allow absorption.  In most instances we recommend an acrylic surface sealer for regrouting. Read the instructions carefully and follow all of the recommended steps accordingly.  This is not difficult but attention to detail is important.

Clean half the closets in your house

Divide the house either front and back or left and right and clean half the closets.  Pulling everything out of a closet will not only help keep things from piling up over the years, it will also help give you a chance to preform an inspection of the walls, floors and ceiling in the closet.  Leaks frequently go undetected for a long time because the leak occurred in the back of a cluttered closet and no one knew.  It is a good idea to decide how frequently something should be used before it is just taking up space.  Is it three months, six months, a year?  This will help you make decisions about what to throw out and what to keep.  We only recommend doing half the closets in a month because it is a big job.  Half is enough.

Check washing machine hoses

This is something that most people ignore until a hose breaks… when they are gone on vacation.  We have seen some horrific floods caused in this way.  Of course when you are leaving for any period of time, it is a good idea to shut the water to the washing machine off.  When inspecting the hoses, turn the valves off and pull the washing machine away from the wall.  Hold the drain line up so that it does not leak. Look at the floor for signs of leaking.  Check hoses for flexibility and corrosion on the fittings.  We recommend changing hoses every 3-5 years.  It is a good idea to hang a tag on one of the hoses indicating the date that it was last changed.  We also recommend high-pressure stainless steel hoses. Don’t forget to check the drain hose as well.  These hoses are thicker and usually last a little longer.  Don’t forget to sweep and mop under the washing machine before pushing it back and connecting it.