Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Home Modification and Repair


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


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 steps:

  • Get recommendations from friends who have had similar projects completed.
  • 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 performance record.


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: 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.


WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD on July 31, 2001

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

Solutions for 19 types.
Heart-Shaped Fried Egg
Can you benefit from them?
oatmeal and eggs
How to make the best choices for you.
dog begging at table
Foods your dog should never eat.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
Adult man lying awake in bed
How to recognize them.
Pictures and facts.
smiling woman
Fight the effects of getting older.
chicken and veggie kabobs
What are you eating tonight?
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
woman clutching at stomach
Do you know what's causing yours?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.