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Managing your home in Retirement

Housework is no fun at the best of times but it can become a real pain for the elderly as conditions such as arthritis and other ailments begin to take their toll. Fatigue, mobility issues and inflammation become a serious problem in advancing years and it becomes increasingly important to take precautions against injury and strain. Symptoms can be aggravated by simple tasks that would once have been taken in one’s stride, such as scrubbing, vacuuming and lifting. Here are a few tips to help reduce the strain of domestic chores.

Gently does it
The idea of a designated cleaning day may not work so well for the elderly. Tasks need to be broken up into smaller chores and spaced across the week. Floors, for example, can be tackled one at a time on different days and cleaning the kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean doing the floor and dishes all in one go. Equally, dealing with one load of laundry on one day and the rest of it later in the week may work better than having one exhausting laundry day.

Learn new tricks
Muscles and joints are particularly vulnerable to wear and tear in advanced years. Cushions could be used for kneeling, and the knees bent when lifting heavy objects. It is preferable to slide rather than lift objects whenever possible, and tasks like chopping food and ironing can be done when sitting down. 

Ditch the hazards
Accidents often occur during cleaning and in elderly people they can set off a chain reaction of problems. The commonest domestic hazards often involve poor lighting, loose rugs and dangling cords, and these can easily be dealt with before starting work.

Finances
There is also usually a big change in the financial situation on retirement. Income in most cases falls, but spending habits also change with age. Loans and mortgages usually no longer figure, for example. Here are a few more tips for managing money in retirement.

Have a budget ready
Many of the changes that occur on retirement can be prepared for in advance and, with a budget of expected income and expenditure drawn up ahead of the event, the transition will be that much smoother and less of a shock to the finances. The budget can always be fine-tuned later on.

Identify potential cuts     
The budget will probably highlight areas where relatively painless cuts can be made, for example, where more is going out than expected. A little thought usually indicates where less could be spent on unnecessary items.

Review investments
Some savings should be kept for easy access in a current account in case of emergencies. The usual recommended time frame is three months’ worth of funds. Additional savings, however, whether in ISAs, bonds, savings accounts or elsewhere, need to be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are performing as expected.
Elderly people should also feel at liberty to take a break and accept that nobody is perfect. Savings do not perform exactly as expected, and real homes never look like those in glossy magazines. We all do our best in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.