Are you a senior trying to stay in your own home as long as you can? Retaining a sense of independence isn’t really enough, as you truly deserve to stay in your own home for as long as you can, and having actual safety and independence truly improves quality of life at any age.
One in 10 Americans is currently a senior, and with a wave of Baby Boomers coming into their golden years, it’s the fastest-growing population segment. Home repair help for seniors isn’t just a growing concern for residents of that age range, but also for kids and caretakers wanting to make sure their older loved ones are okay.
Making an older adult’s residence more accessible and safe minimizes risks of accidents and falls. Also, many home updates can also lower energy usage that brings utility bills down with them.
Fortunately, if you or someone you care about needs home modifications, there are quite a few options about how to make it happen. Keep reading to learn what some of them are:
Sources of Home Repair Help for Seniors
If you or a senior loved one need help maintaining your home, check with any or all of the following sources of assistance:
1) Area Agency On Aging
Many counties have an Area Agency on Aging that offers home repair and modification funds as provided through the Older Americans Act. State and local government grants might also be on top of federal assistance. This is usually handled through a city’s or county’s community development or housing department.
2) Local Senior Organizations
Many communities have at least one local senior organization. These groups advocate for and sometimes even provide services for the elderly. In fact, some groups of seniors enjoy volunteering their time and services to help out fellow seniors.
3) Rebuilding Together
This is a nationwide nonprofit group which assists with home repairs and modifications that promote independence, safety, and health. Contact a local affiliate in order to learn what specific possibilities are open to your home or family.
4) Area Youth Groups
Many youth groups look for opportunities to serve local residents and the community. Young people learn how to care for others, and they benefit from community service when applying to colleges and jobs, or they just might need certain hours for promotions in the Boy Scouts. Contact local schools and troops to see if anyone can help.
5) United States Department Of Agriculture
The Section 504 Home Repair program has grants available for home repairs, improvements, and modernization, especially in regards to fixing up any health and safety issues. These grants and loans are available to those with very low levels of income.
6) Community Houses Of Worship
Many religions and faiths feel called to help those in need, and many specific houses of worship have outreach programs to check in regularly on members of their congregations who spend a lot of time at home. Contact these places to see if those services extend to helping fix up a home.
LIHEAP stands for the Very Low-Income Housing Repair Program operated by the federal government. Also run by the USDA, it provides loans and grants to qualified homeowners for things like weatherization, energy-related home repairs, energy crisis assistance, and heating/cooling energy costs.
Many seniors qualify for one or even both of these programs. While neither of them pay directly for home modifications, a doctor’s prescription might open the door to them paying for durable medical equipment. These could include things like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, bath transfer benches, and toilet safety frames, among other possibilities. Consult your physician to find out more.
Certain home modifications are covered by long-term care insurance policies. Check with your insurance agent or read the policy for your specific details.
10) Habitat For Humanity
Some branches of Habitat for Humanity provide repairs to the homes of senior citizens, sometimes even creating events that benefit many.
11) State Repair Programs
State-level resources are available in varying degrees in nearly every state for senior citizen home repair assistance. These might include referrals to non-profit housing agencies to zero-interest-rate deferred loan programs.
12) Earthquake Brace And Bolt
This program only covers specific regions, but it has monetary grants to help homeowners retrofit their homes for optimal earthquake protection. It’s not specifically for only senior citizens, but it can help owner-occupants with older homes that lack the modern standards in retrofitting and bracing. Similar programs exist in other regions for threats like tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, and fire.
13) Cheaper Contractor Services
A number of contractors are willing to provide home modifications for seniors on a sliding scale or at a reduced fee. Ask about this when getting quotes, or just contact the local contractor board directly.
14) Weatherization Programs
WAP, or the Weatherization Assistance Program, is available at both the federal and state levels in many areas. It helps low-income homeowners, including seniors, make their homes more weatherized and energy-efficient. This can cover things like insulation, HVAC, and windows, which lowers energy bills and makes a home safer in inclement weather.
Summary & Final Recommendations
Whether it’s a ramp to the front door or safety rails in the bathroom, home modifications for senior citizens can make their home a much safer place for them to spend their golden years. Repairs like these even make a great gift for needy seniors. It can help them avoid having to go into a nursing home or retirement center much longer, and in the best cases, they can remain in their own home and known, comfortable surroundings for the rest of their days.
Another advantage of many of these modifications is the potential cost savings. Obviously, any home improvements that result in lower utility bills help save money when you or your older loved one is on a fixed income, but they can also help retirement funds last longer.
Still, always do your due diligence when looking up each of these resources, especially when considering giving someone access to your home for actual physical work or access to your financial data when applying for grants or loans. It’s an unfortunate reality that scamming older citizens is such a prevalent practice, but just a little mindfulness goes a long way in preventing this.