Home Modification and Repair
WHERE TO GET HELP
There are several ways to modify and repair your home. You can: 1) do it
yourself, or get a friend or relative to help; 2) hire a handyman or
contractor; 3) contact a home modification and repair program. 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 Independent Living Center
USING A CONTRACTOR
If you need to use a contractor, make certain that the contractor is
reliable. Older people are prime target for con artists and fraud. Be
especially wary of door-to-door repair salespersons. Consider taking these
- Get recommendations from friends who have had similar projects
- Hire a licensed and bonded contractor. Be specific about the work
which you want. Try to get bids from several contractors.
- Ask for references from previous customers -- CHECK OUT THE
REFERENCES; try to see some of the contractor's completed projects.
- Insist on a written agreement, with only a small down payment. Have
a trusted family member or friend read the agreement. Consider having the
agreement reviewed by your lawyer if it is very complicated. Make the final
payment only after the project is completed.
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau or your city/county
Consumer Affairs Office regarding the contractor's reliability and
Home Safety Guide for Older People: Check It Out/Fix It Up by Jon
Pynoos and Evelyn Cohen, Serif Press, Inc., 1331 H Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20005. For more information, call: (202) 737-4650. Price: $12.50.
Older Consumers Safety Publication, U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207 -- For more information, call: 1-
800-638-2772 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Price: Free.
The DoAble Renewable Home: Making Your Home Fit Your Needs (D12470).
AARP Fulfillment, Consumer Affairs, 601 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20049.
Price: Free (single copies).
Eldercare Locator: For information about services to the elderly,
call 1-800- 677-1116.
This document was adapted from material developed by the National Eldercare
Institute on Housing and Supportive Services, Andrus Gerontology Center,
University of Southern California. Duplication of this document is encouraged
with attribution of the source.