Adult children caregivers want to ensure their elderly parents get the health care and personal services they need to stay safe and comfortable. A big part of that care is making sure the house is also safe and secure, especially after one or both parents have transitioned into an assisted living or nursing facility. Even if the move is temporary (for example, your mother has to go to rehab after a fall), the house could be left empty for weeks or months at a time. And after a permanent transition it could be months before the property is sold.

We suggest that long-distance caregivers hire a property manager or maintenance contractor to keep up with a regular home maintenance schedule. Draw up a written contract specifying exactly what needs to happen when. This seasonal checklist will get you started.

Monthly Home Maintenance Schedule

  • Plumbing: Assuming that the water has been left on, check all plumbing fixtures and drains for leaks. Flush all the toilets. Test the pressure relief valve on the hot water heater.
  • HVAC: Inspect all filters and replace as necessary.
  • Electrical: Check the switch box to make sure all systems are running. Check all cords for rodent damage. Turn all appliances on and off to make sure they work.
  • Exterior: Walk around the house to visually inspect windows, doors, and roof for weather damage or evidence of intruders. Make any necessary repairs.

Spring Home Maintenance Schedule

  • Roof: Clean off any debris and inspect the eves, flashing, and soffits, repairing any damage.
  • Gutters and downspouts: Clean out or replace with a self-cleaning system, check for weak spots in the drain pipe and make sure water flows away from the house.
  • Siding: Check for damage, discoloration, or mold and repair or clean as necessary.
  • Windows and Doors: Inspect caulking, screens and trim, repairing as needed. Replace storm windows with screens if necessary. Scrape and repair any peeling paint, and replace or lubricate hardware as needed.

 Learn More About Senior Moving

Fall Home Maintenance Schedule 

  • Roof: Clean off any debris and inspect the eves, flashing, and soffits, repairing any damage.
  • Gutters and downspouts: Clean out or replace with a self-cleaning system, check for weak spots in the drain pipe and make sure water flows away from the house.
  • Chimney or flue: Clean all flues and/or ducts, and repair any cracks or loose or crumbling mortar. If you’re not sure when the chimney was last inspected, call a licensed chimney technician.
  • Heating: Have the system serviced. Vacuum all the vents. Check the thermostat for accuracy and replace if necessary.
  • Plumbing: Wrap any exterior pipes and pipes below ground level with heat tape.
  • Windows and doors: Inspect weather stripping and repair or replace as needed. Install storm windows if necessary.

Annual Home Maintenance Schedule

  • Plumbing: Have the main cleanout drain “rooted” once a year, especially if there are large trees on or around the lot. If there is a septic system, it should also be inspected once a year for root damage. Drain the hot water heater and remove any sediment.
  • HVAC: Have the entire system professionally serviced and inspected at least once a year – more frequently if the users’ manual recommends it.

When a house is empty, even minor problems can escalate quickly. For example, one of our clients discovered that an upstairs faucet had been left on after his mother had moved into assisted living. Over time the sink overflowed, flooding the bathroom. Eventually the ceiling below collapsed.

Of course, every house is different, and seasonal home maintenance schedules will vary based on where you live. Having someone check on the house monthly may cost more in the short-term. But it’s better to pay someone a couple hundred dollars a month than to risk incurring thousands of dollars of property damage.


At Wayforth we work with families in transition. We can empty an entire house within days, sorting what items to keep, sell, donate, and discard. Our employees pack and move everything, then prepare the house for sale. Call us for a free consultation.

Our advice is based on our experience cleaning out and settling estates for our clients. Each project is different, and each state's laws are different. We always recommend that you consult personally with experts about your particular situation before making any important decisions.