Chances are good that the senior citizens in your life value their independence and have opted to stay in their home for as long as they are able to do so. Thankfully, advances in in-home care, adaptive equipment and technology have made that possible for so many people. However, there are some things that can’t replace the presence of someone that cares. If that person is you, please take the extra time to check in and spend some time with your elderly friends, family members and neighbors. Check on them and their homes especially after periods of heavy or consistent rain, bouts of extreme temperatures, and if you notice a decline in home maintenance. Here are some of the most common situations we encounter and how you can help.
- Check the basement. Limited mobility may mean difficulty accessing basements or upper levels. Explore unoccupied levels for water leaks, high humidity and mold growth. Chances are, they are storing a lifetime of memories in their home. The lack of air flow and dust associated with those items can provide an excellent environment for mold growth.
- Check the temperature. Seniors are more sensitive to changes in temperature and may prefer their thermostat set a little higher. This may lead to above average humidity levels and encourage mold growth, especially in areas that aren’t frequently used or get less fresh air. On the other hand, it is common for seniors to avoid turning up the thermostat or using air conditioning to save money. These habits can lead to frozen pipes in the winter and high humidity in the summer. Encourage indoor temperatures appropriate for the season and aim for a relative humidity between 35- 55%.
- Walk the perimeter. Clogged or damaged gutters, downspouts not extending away from the house, and outside drainage issues are a common cause of interior water issues. Left unchecked those leaks become moldy basements, crawlspaces, attics and bedrooms.
- Open the windows. If you notice a musty smell, open the windows and bring in some fresh air. Excess dust and a lack of air flow can make a home smell musty. If you notice that the smell returns quickly or doesn’t seem to diminish after increasing circulation it may be time to look for moisture issues and mold growth.
- Be observant. Our understanding of the risks associated with mold exposure has come a long way in the last 20 years. Many seniors still may be of the mindset that mold is harmless and can easy be cleaned with bleach. They may be surrounded my mold and not understand the risks to their health. If they do recognize the risks, they may believe that remediation is far too costly or could jeopardize their ability to stay in their home.
If you spot areas of concern don’t hesitate to call Green Home Solutions for an honest and accurate mold assessment. Dealing with a mold problem can feel overwhelming for anyone, especially for seniors that have the added concerns of housing and fixed income. We pride ourselves on customer service that listens, educates and provides affordable solutions for everyone.