Many of us who are older will eventually face two facts: Our homes will need extensive repairs, AND we will run out of places to store our possessions. These two certainties can begin to overwhelm us. The repairs won’t be minor—think replacing large appliances or appurtenances—and the stuff we’ve accumulated will encroach on our quality of life.
During our older years, it takes considerable cash or effort to solve these growing problems. The appliances and structural repairs are expensive, and the expanding tonnage of our belongings is mind-boggling. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and our closets, crawlways and cubbyholes don’t clean themselves.
How we came to this point: We overlooked small malfunctions and tiny accretions of the good stuff we wanted to save. The solutions are difficult: Other than winning the Lottery or borrowing our neighbor’s dump truck, there are no quick fixes. (Not a righteous answer: Letting our residences deteriorate or our stuff pile up for our heirs to deal with!)
I raise this matter now, to encourage you to start to work at these eventualities by not allowing the problems to grow. No matter how much it costs, regular maintenance and periodic replacement beats having to replace everything when all of it breaks down—seemingly at once! Possessions don’t pile up when you regularly purge, clean or straighten up the secret hiding places where you squirrel away what’s not really all that useful anymore.
If you are the caregiver for an older adult or approaching this stage in life, start now to keep up with the inevitable deterioration of equipment and the always-avoidable collection of detritus in your home (and yard). If you’re in the middle of this mess, ask for help now.
In these ways, you can begin to forestall the late-in-life problems of repair/replace/remove!
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