Making sure a home is safe and livable for any senior should first priority when it comes to senior apartment living. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to deal with safety concerns for your senior’s apartment. Appliance safety (and ease of use), mobility issues, security concerns: all can be addressed to make sure that a senior living on their own is both comfortable and well cared for. Whether you make these modifications on your own or with the help of an occupational therapist, there are plenty of small things you can do to an apartment that will make a big difference for a senior’s apartment safety.
‘apartment safety’ Tag
There you are on a sandy beach, basking in the sun, your cell phone and laptop far away, when suddenly it hits you: Rent is due in two days! And you can’t remember if you paid your utility bills! And… oh God… did you leave the stove on? Did you even remember to lock your apartment door?! If this scenario sounds like something you might experience while on vacation, don’t fear. Before you depart from your apartment for summer vacation, be sure to do these 7 things.
1. Plan ahead to pay rent and utilities.
Avoid the mid-vacation panic of remembering overdue bills by planning ahead a little. Before you leave, set up autopay online for both or pay them ahead of time.
2. Take care of your mail.
If you are expecting deliveries while you are away, ask your neighbors to receive them or bring them in for you until you get back. If the mail item will be delivered to the leasing office, you should also notify your apartment’s management so they will know to hold it for you until you return. Read the rest of this entry »
Renters insurance: the unsung hero of apartment safety. If you don’t have renters insurance, you might want to think twice about how you’re protecting your apartment and all your precious stuff.
Why do you need renters insurance? Well, renters insurance is used to cover you if something happens to your apartment that costs you money. Of course, what your renters insurance covers really depends on the type of policy you get, but even having a little can be better than living in an apartment uninsured.
Still not convinced? Consider these four scenarios. Some are likely, some are silly, but all are perfectly good reasons to consider getting renters insurance.
Fire! Fire! Four-Alarm!
Let’s say your neighbor—we’ll call him “Bob”—is trying his hand at making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Deep-fried turkey is all the rage this year, and he’s decided to give it a try. What Bob doesn’t know is that you should never deep fry a frozen turkey because the combination of hot oil and cold bird can lead to splattered oil and a big, bad fire. Fortunately, you and Bob are both okay, but neither of your apartments were so lucky. Renter’s insurance can cover the damages to your belongings and the repairs to your apartment.
The Wrath of Your Landlord
Threatening phone calls, demands for money, reminders that if you don’t pay up there’ll be trouble– it’s not a scene from The Godfather, it’s just your landlord making sure you have renters insurance. Sometimes landlords require tenants to have renters insurance upon signing a lease. Not having renters insurance, or at the very least being unable to prove that you have it, could lead to hefty fines or even eviction. By getting renters insurance you can avoid wearing concrete shoes and sleepin’ with the fishes, see?
Lawsuit from a Friend-Turned-Foe
You’ve just moved in to your new apartment and your friend has graciously volunteered help you move your furniture and paint the walls. Unfortunately she’s a bit of a klutz, so she falls off the ladder and breaks her arm while painting a hard-to-reach corner. Even though you’re very concerned, she gets angry, and decides to end your friendship, stick you with all her medical bills, and sue you to boot. Renters insurance can give you liability protection, which could cover expenses within your liability limit like legal costs and hospital bills.
An Overexcited Bathtub Faucet
Some apartments are older than others, which means that some of their features can be a little… persnickety. Let’s say it’s been a long day, so you decide to run a bath and relax; however, once the tub is full, you discover that the faucet is stuck and the tub’s drain cover won’t budge. You’re forced to watch your floors get soaked as you call the apartment’s emergency maintenance team. Now your carpets are ruined, your shoes are sopping, and your downstairs neighbor is complaining about a dripping ceiling. Renters insurance can help cover those costs, which is especially helpful if the landlord’s policy doesn’t help you out with them.
Did you know it’s National Severe Weather Preparedness Week? Being prepared for bad weather in apartments is essential to safe apartment living. If you live in an area that is susceptible to natural disasters and severe weather, stay safe by being prepared for whatever nature might throw your way. Today we bring your our top resources for severe weather preparedness in apartments, including a roundup of free resources from organizations like the Red Cross, FEMA, and the CDC.
American Red Cross – Plan & Prepare Guides
These guides from the American Red Cross help households, schools, and workplaces prepare for emergencies. The Tools and Resources page contains extensive checklists and guides in many different languages. Apartment-dwellers will find the Prepare Your Home and Family page especially helpful.
ApartmentSearch.com – Apartment Tornado Safety
Tornados warnings have an average lead-time of only 13 minutes, according to NOAA. Because of this, it is important for renters to be prepared for a tornado. Use these tips from ApartmentSearch.com so you’ll know what to do if a tornado ever touches down near your apartment.
ApartmentSearch.com – Tips for Apartment Emergency Preparedness
As part of our apartment resources for renters, this list of tips for dealing emergencies in apartments includes hurricane, tornado, fire, and flooding safety, plus some important basic apartment safety tips. Check this while you prepare your apartment’s interior and its occupants for severe weather and natural disasters.
ApartmentSearch.com – Tips for Flooded Apartments
Flooding can happen as a result of lots of severe weather conditions. Hurricanes, tsunamis, flash floods, and heavy rainstorms can all cause flooding. Even plain old freezing weather can cause pipes to burst and lead to a flooded apartment. If the latter happens, use this guide to deal with apartment flooding.
This resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contains recommendations for what to do before, during, and after a natural disaster or severe weather occurrence. Everything is here: earthquakes, extreme heat, flooding, hurricanes, landslides, lightning, mudslides, tornados, tsunamis, volcanoes, wildfires, and severe winter weather.
FEMA – Ready.gov
Here the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a comprehensive guide to dealing with all kinds of disasters. On this site you can get the information you need to deal with all stages of an emergency, construct a plan for emergencies, build an emergency preparedness kit, and more.
NOAA – Weather.gov
This page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site has the latest forecast information across the U.S. If you are anticipating severe weather, check here for regional and city-specific updates.
The Weather Channel – Disaster Supply Kit Checklists
Check out this page for a comprehensive roundup of different components of emergency supply kits. From food to first aid kits, tools to toilet paper, you’ll find a list for every contingency.
Last time we talked about some factors to be aware of in order to find an apartment you’ll enjoy. Things like size, amount of storage, and convenience may seem obvious. But other factors that may not be quite as apparent are equally important if you want to find an apartment where you will be both content and safe.
To find an apartment that meets these requirements, be alert for:
Noise. To find an apartment that will suits you, try to view it both in the daytime and in the evening, preferably on a Friday or Saturday. If you only look during the day, you may not discover that Bigfoot lives upstairs or that you can hear the neighbor’s Metallica like you were sitting in front of the speakers. Keep an ear cocked for street noise, barking dogs, and crying babies.
Safety factors. It’s important to find an apartment where you will feel secure. Look for smoke alarms and a handy fire extinguisher. Notice whether exterior walkways well lit. Apartment doors should be sturdy and have deadbolts, and all windows should have latches.
Neighborhood issues. Even if the building itself looks nice and well kept, notice the buildings around it. Is there a lot of trash in the yards? Are the streets well lit at night? Try to find an apartment you would feel comfortable going into and out of at any time of the day or night.
Plumbing issues. Turn on the taps to check the water pressure. An apartment with low water pressure could mean that you’ll get a morning dribble instead of a shower. Check for leaky faucets and water stains on ceilings. Damp areas can foster mold growth.
Electrical problems. Switch on all the lights to be sure they work properly. Bring a small appliance with you (a hair dryer is good) and try it in outlets in every room. Lights should not flicker or short out. You don’t want to find an apartment with dangerous electrical issues.
Appliance issues. In any place you find, an apartment should have clean, working appliances. Turn on the stove and burners to see how quickly they heat up. Check that the refrigerator, freezer, and microwave work properly.
When you find an apartment that satisfies your needs, it’s time to sign the lease and start packing. To get set for your move, use our printable moving checklist. And remember that if you find an apartment through Apartment Search, you could get up to $200 back in Renters’ Rewards.
“Find an apartment” is probably at the top of your to-do list if you’re contemplating a move to a new area. When searching for digs in a small city or town, especially one you’re unfamiliar with, it pays to do some research. Every town has its own character, which is reflected in its neighborhoods and housing options. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to find an apartment in a small city.
Explore what makes the town tick. To find an apartment in a new place, it pays to learn about the area, in particular which neighborhoods are plum and which are the pits. For example, many small cities and towns are home to colleges. It may not be hard to find an apartment in a town that has lots of students because there are probably lots of rental properties, too, but be savvy about location. Unless you’re in school yourself, a student ghetto or near frat house row may not be the ideal place to find an apartment. Do your homework: If you’re moving to a college town, know where the kids live so you can make an informed choice about whether you want to be their neighbor.
Keep safety in mind. When you’re out to find an apartment, never overlook safety. People sometimes make the mistake of thinking smaller cities are safe by definition, but that’s not always the case. When you find an apartment that interests you, notice the neighborhood. Are the buildings rundown? Are the yards groomed or overgrown and littered? Drive around the area at night. Are the streets well lit? Would you feel safe coming and going by yourself after dark? Many city governments and police departments provide crime statistics by area or neighborhood. Try searching by city and state or by zip code.
You can find an apartment you’ll love with Apartment Search, whether you’re looking in Sarasota, Florida, Santa Clara, California, or someplace in between. Does the mere thought of a small city make you yawn? Then cruise our listings Dallas Apartments, Austin Apartments, Phoenix Apartments, or Seattle Apartments. Wherever you land, if you find your apartment through Apartment Search, you can cash in on up to $200 in Renters’ Rewards.
Ready to go? Make your move!
It is not always necessary to use abrasive chemicals for every day cleaning in apartments. With proper use, some eco-friendly sources can get the job done just as well. You may have heard of people who have used natural ingredients that have yielded mediocre results. Our apartment living blog team has done the research for you, and we have experienced first hand some inexpensive and natural ways to clean common surfaces in apartments. The key is using the right solutions for every cleaning need.
What you will need:
- Spray bottles (You can find them in the gardening section of most big box stores)
- Baking Soda
- Castille Soap (Can be found in health food stores. A little goes a long way and must be diluted!)
Vinegar Solutions: It is the safest, most readily available, cheapest and closest to an all purpose cleanser that you can come by. Mix half and half of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean shiny surfaces. Think of this as your own natural windex spray, sans ammonia. You can also use the half and half solution for tile or linoleum floors. For a good grease cutter (read: kitchen counter tops) cut the vingar solution to 1/3 of the bottle, fill the rest with water, and mix in a capful of castille soap to boost your cleaning power. An important note: Do not use vinegar on marble, granite, or any other kind of stone. Use manufacturers cleaners and consult other sources for natural ways to clean these materials.
Baking Soda Solutions: This is another must have for apartments. Baking soda acts like a natural scouring powder, akin to Commet (again, without the ammonia). Sprinkle baking soda on toilets, tubs, tile, and even tough to clean pots and pans. Splash a little water on the powder dusted area, let it dissolve for a few minutes, and use a clean rag to scrub the surface. You can make a concentrated solution for even more stubborn dirty surfaces. Mix baking soda with a bit of castille soap to form a thick paste and use to combat soap rings or dingy grout.
For other surfaces and different types of odd cleaning jobs, you may want to consult an eco-friendly cleaning guide. If you have any other tips for us, let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We will be sharing natural cleaning tips for apartments all week!
An issue that Austin apartments and surrounding regional areas are facing is a lack of water. The central Texas drought has left our landscapes dry and resources scarce this summer. Central Texas has experienced the most devastating wildfires in its history that have destroyed over 1,500 homes and have further depleted lake levels from extinguishing the flames, causing further assault to injury.
That being said, conserving water is very important for those who live in central Texas, and especially for those who live in central Austin apartments. Lack of water has affected the surrounding ecosystems and will leave long term affects on the water supply, the local produce and the regional meat available for months or even years to come. If you live in high density areas, you can expect rolling blackouts and water restrictions to impact your region during the severe drought period.
Find out how much water you are using by consulting a water usage calculator. You can do your part to save water and help your community by actively making a few small changes to your daily routines.
Things you can do today:
- Wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and do not rinse dishes before loading to save about 20-50 gallons of water
- Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth and save about 3 gallons of water
- Take a 10 minute shower instead of a bath and use only 15-25 gallons instead of about 70 (with a low pressure showerhead)
- Shorten your shower! Every minute saves about 150 gallons of water a month
- Wash produce in a bowl of water instead of running under the faucet to save 1-3 gallons of water
- Use one drinking glass for water per day (or even a few days) to cut down on the amount of dishes that need to be washed
- Defrost food in the refrigerator instead of using running sink water
- Share tips with your friends and neighbors!
This week on our apartment living blog we are featuring a guest post! “The Scoop On Move-in Day” is written by Jasmine, a student at The University of Texas at Austin. It is an account of her experiences and the tips she learned from moving into her first apartment!
The Scoop On Move-in Day:
Move-in day has finally arrived. You’ve re-read your lease a thousand times and completed the Moving Checklist, now you are ready to just get everything from the moving truck into your new apartment. Before you do, there are a few things that need to be done in order to get started on your apartment living experience.
When you pick up your keys for the first time, there are a few things you can expect. If you did not pay your rent upon signing a lease, you will be required to make payments on any leftover administrative fees, as well as your first month’s rent. If you are responsible for utilities, don’t forget to provide your account number to your leasing manager to avoid being charged.
Figure out how you will pay your rent and bills each month. Will you set-up online regular bill payments, write checks or buy money orders? Your bank will probably be most helpful when it comes to figuring out what you need.
For the student living in a college apartment there are probably many overlooked minor mishaps in your new apartment. If there is a crack in the refrigerator or a chip on the baseboard, document it and take pictures. Make note of any and every imperfection to make sure you are not responsible for damages. The more details you can provide, the better. Dated photos will serve as proof in the event that you are charged after documentation.
There is most likely a section in your lease that includes completing an inspection room by room. This sheet will need to be turned in to your leasing manager within 24-48 hours to determine if maintenance work will need to be ordered.
Organizing Your New Space
Bedding, towels, a change of clothes, and cleaning supplies are the first items you will need to unpack after a long day of work. You will need a good night’s rest before organizing everything you own. Finding a place for everything is key to apartment living, since the space is generally smaller than what you are normally used to. Don’t hesitate to set a timeline to finish unpacking. You don’t want to spend 6 months unpacking boxes, only to realize you will be packing again in 3 months.
Foremost, it is important to make sure that your apartment is safe from accidents. Before you leave you apartment check all faucets (during freezes in winter it may be wise to leave a drip running), turn off all light switches, check the stove, and scan the surroundings of electrical outlets. An extra safe step: clean each room. Take stock of items that may need to be stowed away and safety hazards that can be avoided. At bare minimum, take out your trash, do your dishes and seal all non-perishables. Pests and rodents are real risks. Especially in a warm, dark, empty apartments.
Cleaning your apartment living quarters comes with an added bonus of coming home to serenity after the stresses of travel. Conserving energy can also alleviate some travel induced stress. Saving energy saves money in your pocketbook! Do not get charged for energy services that you aren’t using! Be sure to shut the blinds, move plants to one window sill if possible, turn off (or up) the air conditioning, and unplug all cords and power strips. Not only does this also add another element of safety, it saves the planet!
Do you have any other tips to share with us? Connect with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages. We will share your tips with other fans. Happy traveling from ApartmentSearch.com and The Apartment Living Blog!