Ben Esposito - RE/MAX Real Estate Center



Posted by Ben Esposito on 3/17/2019

Illness or an accident may strike a family member at any time. Or, they may require surgery or other care. And when they need in-home care during recovery, you may find yourself woefully unprepared.

Prepare your home

Caring for an invalid or person recovering from an illness reveals many areas in a house that do not work well with wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches. These include stairs, narrow doorways, and halls without rails. Turning radius requirements for wheelchairs notably, sadly are lacking in most homes.

Additionally, most baths and shower enclosures do not have grab bars, and something as simple as a faucet may be too complicated to manipulate if your family member's illness causes weakness or lack of feeling.

If your parents are aging and ill, or if you have a child or teen with ambulatory limitations, here are a few suggestions of things to do to make your home invalid-friendly and reduce some of the stress:

  • Replace door and cabinet knobs with levers. A lever-style handle is operable with just one hand giving a gentle push.
  • Add grab bars to any place where water might make it slippery, including inside and outside of bath and shower enclosures, and near the toilet.
  • Switch out knob-style faucets for lever-style.
  • Add railings to outdoor steps, and any interior steps, even if only one or two stairs.
  • If possible, replace all interior room doors with 36-inch doors, the best width to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Add rails to long hallways.
  • Make sure seating for meals is at wheelchair height if necessary.
  • Keep clutter and extra furniture out of the way to remove hazards and barriers.

Prepare yourself

No matter how ill your family member is, you are of no help to them if you don't take care of yourself. Arrange for periodic relief. Sometimes you only need a breather, and other times you may need to get away for a couple of hours. Reach out to other family members or to friends or hire a care-giving service for those times you need to get away to refresh yourself. You can not give to your loved one if you have nothing to offer.

Prepare your family

Children in the home need preparation, information, and instructions regarding the ill family member. A child that used to run directly into grandma's arms might be confused about what to do when grandma uses a walker or wheelchair. Of, if Uncle Charles typically gets down on the floor to play with them, but has a broken leg and can't do that right now, your children may not understand. Preparing your children for what to expect in a gentle and non-fearful way helps them adjust to any temporary inconvenience your love one is subject to during recovery. 

If you expect to care for a loved one in the future, make plans to include ADA compliant options as part of your homebuyer checklist.




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Posted by Ben Esposito on 11/20/2016

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.





Posted by Ben Esposito on 7/3/2016

Many of us take for granted the safety of our homes from asbestos. Some of us have grown comfortable at home and would never guess there could be potential dangers like asbestos or lead paint lurking behind our walls and under our floorboards. Others assume that since these dangers have been known for decades they must have already been taken care of in our homes. Unfortunately, many homes, especially homes built before the 1980s, still contain potentially harmful asbestos. Here's everything you need to know about detecting and removing asbestos from your home.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is a known carcinogen--meaning it is capable of causing cancer. Asbestos has been utilized throughout history for a number of practical uses, dating back to Ancient Greek and Egyptian societies who used asbestos in the embalming process and in candle wicks. In 1900s America, asbestos was used in a range of industries from automobiles, the military, and in building our homes. The benefits of asbestos are many. It is a great insulator and is also fire retardant. So for homeowners trying to keep warm but also concerned about their house burning down, asbestos offered two highly sought after services. It wasn't until the 1970s that the U.S. government began warning about and regulating the use of asbestos.

Risks

In spite of its many uses, asbestos has one--huge--disadvantage: it causes cancer. More specifically asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity). The cancer is a result of inhaling the fibers of asbestos mineral that are released into the air. In extreme cases where asbestos exposure becomes cancer-causing, some common symptoms include:
  • pain or difficulty breathing
  • coughing blood
  • a cough that doesn't go away or worsens
  • shortness of breath

Detecting asbestos in your home

The ways in which asbestos can make its way into the air are innumerable. Sometimes drilling into a ceiling that is blown with asbestos insulation causes the fibers to fall into the home. However, there are other places asbestos has been used in homes such as in flooring, paint, and wallpaper used around wood-burning stoves. According to the EPA, you generally can't tell if something contains asbestos just by looking at it. If the asbestos containing material is in good condition it is recommended that you leave it alone. However, if you are planning a remodel that will disturb the material (work which involves breaking ceilings, walls, or flooring) it is recommended that you seek out a certified inspector.

Removal or repair?

If an inspector deems part of your home unsafe due to asbestos fibers they will help you determine if the asbestos needs to be removed or simply repaired. In minor cases, a contractor will be able to repair the fix that is causing asbestos fibers in such a way that it doesn't need to be removed entirely. In more severe cases, the asbestos may need to be entirely removed by a contractor. It is important that you don't attempt these repairs or removals yourself as they require safety equipment and precautions that only accredited professionals have access to.