Life for all of us gets more difficult as we age.

I wrote a few months ago that my Dad said the "golden years aren't so golden."

I see the struggles my parents, friends and others who are growing older face, as well as Jim, my husband, and myself. Things that were once easy, such as laying a brick sidewalk, digging a hole for a tree, trimming bushes or installing new sprinklers become difficult as one's joints stiffen and back hurts.

Prices for home repairs can be extremely expensive, especially for retired seniors who no longer have an income to help offset these costs.

For example, my parents desperately needed their sprinkler system repaired; something Dad could have handled himself five years ago. They hired a contractor on the recommendation of the sprinkler shop; the results, the man broke several pipes, put in a worthless drip system and the expensive automatic controller is no longer automatic.

He charged them a lot of money for a worthless job.

Seniors are often at the mercy of unscrupulous contractors that don't do the job or repair correctly, demand payment and then leave. As the children of aging parents, we need to watch out for our parents and make sure others aren't taking advantage of them.

Some advice would be to keep your home in good repair and do all repairs in a timely manner. Don't put off repairs, as once we are retired our income level drops. Jim and I have a contingency fund; I know that we will need a new roof in the next few years, and probably a new air conditioner, so I save for these certain expenses. Saving for a "rainy day" was the expression our grandparents used.

Make wise decisions while you are still healthy and mobile. I enjoyed growing up in a two-story house, but my Mom warned Dad years ago, that someday they'd get old and the stairs would become difficult; that day has come for them. Plan ahead for what will happen as one ages and it will make retirement much easier.

School is back in session, please be careful when driving around Crestview.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.