Spring Cleaning & Aging in Place

Originally published in allaboutestates.ca on March 31, 2014:

Let’s hope that it may actually start to warm up over the next few weeks. Winter had a strangle hold on many of us over these long few months. Particularly for seniors, it was a very isolating time as venturing outside was a challenge due to freezing temperatures and icy walking conditions.

As we throw off the heavy blanket of winter, spring is a natural time for decluttering and household cleaning. Those renovation projects that were contemplated over winter may now feel a little closer to getting started. Seasonal cleaning should also include a closer look at the health and safety features of your home. For example, removing the pile of clutter that is sitting on the floor will reduce tripping hazards. Those larger projects such as changing the tub to a walk in shower or the addition of hand railings and photo sensor lighting will certainly increase your safety and most likely, the value of your home as well. There are many items available on the market today which can make the home safer, such as lighting, hand rails, grab bars and non slip flooring. I posted avblog where this is discussed.

The Ontario Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit “is a permanent, refundable personal income tax credit for seniors and family members who live with them. If you qualify, you can claim up to $10,000 worth of eligible home improvements on your tax return. The amount of money you get back for these expenses is calculated as 15 per cent of the eligible expenses you claim. For example, if you spend and then claim $10,000 worth of eligible expenses, you could get $1,500 back”.

For a list of eligible expenses, visit their site. Many of these safety adaptations will result in seniors being able to remain at home longer with the hope and expectation that they will be able to remain home and ‘age in place’.

Starting the clean up process is difficult, to get started, consider spending a few hours helping your older friend/ family begin the decluttering and clean up process. Otherwise there are some decluttering and downsizing services provided by different community organizations that can assist. Happy Spring!

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