Home inspectors have an important role in the success of aging in place.
They make sure that the houses our elders live in are safe enough for them to function on their own.
On top of that, they also make sure that the house is maintained as an asset instead of a liability.
So today, we’ll go deeper into what home inspectors do to keep our loved ones safe at home.
We are speaking with Mark Caffiers, Director for Property Inspections at D.S. Murphy Inspections. He is a InterNachi C.P.I. (Certified Professional Inspector) and also a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) as designated by NAHB.
We will also be discussing what inspections are needed and why we need to have regular inspections done for our aging parents’ home.
Let’s get started.
Glad to be here.
I am Mark Cafiiers, and I’m the Director for Property Inspections at D.S. Murphy Inspections. We are a multigenerational company that is a leader in appraisals in the southeast.
D.S. Murphy Inspections have been in the residential and commercial appraisal industry for more than 30 years.
As home inspectors, we are known for our diligence in our inspection process and our exceptional customer service.
Our services include full home inspections, microbial assessment, radon measurement, four points inspection, wind mitigation inspections, drone services, pool and spa, and aging-in-place inspection.
It’s better for home inspectors to have a certification for Aging in Place. Sadly, I was surprised to hear that I was only the third inspector to take the certification classes in twenty years.
But if you ask me, there is a huge demand for home inspectors in the geriatric population. And there is a huge hole in the process of making sure that homes are safe enough for the elderly to navigate on their own.
As a licensed professional, my role is to give you proper advice on how to make the home safe for the elderly. My expertise also lets me connect you with the best people for the job.
It actually depends on the kind of property we’re inspecting.
Most would think that inspections require tearing things apart. But in reality, most of what we do are visual and not technically exhaustive.
Our purpose is to educate the clients about conditions that exist regardless of what type of inspections we’re doing.
Most of the time home inspections for property buyers and sellers deal with meeting standards. Our services tend to be in commercial and residential areas. And we check on such things as radon measurements, mold inspections, and others, especially for new buildings.
Some things are more important than others. But for the most part, we’re trying to avoid curveballs and figure out unusual situations that might affect a property.
Even though we’re hired to do general inspections, we’re also looking for potential issues that need urgent action.
These types of home buyers, they’re more concerned about protecting their assets, pricing, report turnarounds, and honesty in reporting.
Not every house is going to fit elder people’s needs. And if they’re the ones buying the house, they would need to know what type of changes they need to get done.
This is where our synergy exists. We as home inspectors can make assessments for them. We point out the parts of the house that need adjustments, especially for safety standards.
The most common issues we find are smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
More often these alarms are not in their proper place. Anything that’s ten years or older needs to be replaced for it to be effective.
Some detectors are placed too near the kitchen and are triggered way too often. And people say they don’t like hearing the alarm going off thus the batteries are removed.
Current safety standards call for all households to have a smoke detector in every bedroom, on every floor, and in any room with a fireplace.
Carbon monoxide detectors, on the other hand, are required for every floor of the house.
There’s also the problem of high water temperatures at homes. Anything that’s above 125°F is already considered scalding, especially for the elderly and small children.
I’ve added these things to our inspection checklist because I see them all the time. The problem is, that not all inspection lists have these things in order.
While some institutions and groups are giving general guidelines for inspections, most of these things are things I’ve learned through experience.
There are design considerations, but I’ve prioritized these seemingly simple things.
I have a 93-year-old mom who also lives on her own. And I’ve done my best to help her stay in her own home for as long as possible.
Recently we organized an in-law apartment for her when she was ready.
As family members, we also need to consider the things a loved one needs when they move in with us.
The goal is for them to still have a sense of independence even if they’re in a family member’s home.
So it is also helpful to get the services of aging-in-place home inspectors to guide them on building additional dwellings or renovations that need to be completed.
Take care of trip hazards and other causes of falls.
Make sure grab rails are available around the home for easier access and safer mobility.
We also see a lot of fall hazards like uneven flooring and stairs, bad lighting, and clutter in homes. So make sure you’re keeping things clean, safe, and clutter-free.
I recently checked on a house that had an unusual staircase. The ideal measurements should be at least 11-inch wide treads and 8-inch stair height, but this one was uneven.
These measurements are hazardous for the elderly and should be addressed as soon as possible.
It’s all about understanding what the immediate concerns are. If the conditions are too tedious to fix like the staircase I mentioned, then you can think of other ways to go.
One example is to keep all the things your elders need on one floor. This way you’re removing the need for them to move up and down the stairs and risk getting into accidents.
You can also move around the house and see things from their perspective.
It’s also necessary for you to schedule a professional home inspection regularly.
Keep in mind that everything has a life expectancy. Regular checks can ensure that things are working as they should.
Consult with an expert home inspector.
I’ve been through it with my mom, who is also part of the reason why I took the certification for aging-in-place inspections.
There are a lot of resources available for aging-in-place design, but it’s easier to focus on what your elders need.
It can be something as simple as adding some lighting on the stairs or switching from door knobs to levers.
The key is to get proper guidance from professional home inspectors so you’d know what to prioritize.
Changes don’t have to be drastic to keep your elders safe. Remember that the goal is for them to keep on living independently for as long as they can.
Read more about home inspections here.
Mark Caffiers is the Director of Property inspections for D.S. Murphy Inspections.
With 35 years of experience in the industry, Mark has extensive experience in construction trades. He has also done consultations with clients on rental property purchases and maintenance programs.
Mark has also planned and executed many complex projects from complete guts and remodels of residential and commercial buildings. He and his team of experts have also worked with renovations and resurrecting properties with multiple buildings on the historic register.
As an expert in the construction industry, Mark and his team have always prioritized high-quality services and excellent experiences for their clients.
Mark also has the following certifications and licenses:
We are also working together on a new combined Aging in place home inspection and mobility assessment by me as a Doctor of Physical Therapy to keep mom safe at home. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!