You know your loved one’s home will need some safety and/or accessibility modifications, but how are you going to get the job done?
Where To Get Help
There are several ways to modify and repair your loved one’s home. You can:
- Do it yourself
- Get a friend or relative to help
- Hire a handyman or contractor
- Contact a home modification and repair program
If you, your friends, or your relatives are unable to do the project yourselves, it’s worth it to look into local home modification and repair programs. Such programs can be located through your local Area Agency On Aging, State Agency On Aging, State Housing Finance Agency, Department of Public Welfare, Department Of Community Development, Senior Center, or Independent Living Center.
Using A Contractor
If you decide to hire a private contractor, make certain that he or she is reliable. Older people are prime targets for con artists and fraud. Be especially wary of door-to-door repair salespeople. Consider taking these steps:
- Get recommendations from friends who have had similar projects completed.
- Make sure that the contractor is licensed and bonded.
- Try to get bids from several contractors.
- Ask for references from previous customers—and check them out.
- Ask to see some of the contractor’s completed projects.
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau or your city/county Consumer Affairs Office regarding the contractor’s reliability and performance record.
- Insist on a written agreement, with only a small down payment. Have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer if it is very complicated.
- Make the final payment only after the project is completed.
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Adapted from Elder Action: Action Ideas for Older Persons and Their Families. Home Modification and Repair prepared by the Administration on Aging from materials developed by the National Eldercare Institute on Housing and Supportive Services, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California.