To many older people, nothing is more important than spending their years — however many they have left — in their own homes. The urge to age at home is so powerful that less than five percent of Americans age 65 and over live in some sort of a group home like a nursing home or a continuing care retirement community. As time goes on, that percentage is declining. Within the next few decades, furthermore, the number of older Americans will double. People who work in senior care often refer to this as the coming “silver tsunami.”
The challenges of staying at home throughout retirement tend grow as one ages. Steep stairs can create an interest in single-floor living, and slippery showers pose dangers that can be countered by revamped bathrooms with nonskid floors and grab bars. Few conventional homes are set up for occupants in wheelchairs, however.
For older people, additionally, even “routine” home maintenance can become troublesome. Most people’s physical strength and dexterity decline as they age, along with what might once have been a strong interest in do-it-yourself projects. Also, many older Americans are at risk of receiving poor quality work, being overcharged, or being victimized by dishonest “contractors” who collect a sizeable down payment on an overpriced project, then simply disappear.
Home improvement scams are a national disgrace that has caught the attention of the leadership of Generation Solutions, the 20-year-old company that provides an array of services to help people spend their retirement years at home. The company itself was founded on the widespread desire of older Americans and their families for seniors to live comfortably and safely in their own homes. It’s grown to be an award-winning agency dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to help aging clients remain independent and healthy.
Bothered by the near-constant stories of home construction scams that reached him from the family members, friends, and neighbors of Generation Solution clients, the company’s founder and CEO, P. Tulane Patterson, started brainstorming ways to combat the problem. His approach: to develop an in-house, vetted directory of experts and reliable choices in a variety of home maintenance and construction specialties.
The timing on this project couldn’t have been better, since the CEO’s daughter, Catherine Patterson, was on a summer break from her college studies and was available to team up with Generation Solutions’ home care consultant Treena Koroneos to bring this service to life.
As such, October will see the launch of the Generation Solutions Contractor Alliance, with the company ready to make referrals — from separate lists in the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas — of reliable contractors from nearly a dozen specialties in home construction and maintenance, including plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, home modification, tree service, painting, driveway maintenance, gutter cleaning and repair, lawn care, and snow removal.
“We spent a great deal of time developing these lists,” notes Catherine Patterson. “We researched contractors in each area, talked with them, and did additional research with the Better Business Bureau, the State Corporation Commission, the courts, and more and narrowed the lists down to companies that want to give seniors quality work and who fit our company’s mission of keeping seniors safe. Our aim was to wind up with two to three possibilities in each specialty area.”
Better yet, anyone of any age, regardless of being a Generation Solutions client or not, will be able to get referrals to specialists in whatever area of work they need. There’s absolutely no fee for this service.
To take advantage of the service, all you need to do is to call Generation Solutions at 434.455.6500 for Lynchburg and the surrounding counties or at 540.776.3622 for Roanoke and the nearby areas. From there, you’ll be connected with a staffer whose full-time job includes responding to inquiries for contractors. After discussing your project, the staffer will offer you several contractors to choose from and then contact whatever contractor you choose or let you contact them directly. The work itself and payment for it remains strictly between you and the contractor, and Generation Solutions will follow up to make sure your initial contact was satisfactory.
To get a better idea of the top modifications for making a home safe for seniors, Generation Solutions is offering a free download of its digital booklet “How to Make a Home Senior-Friendly.”
To receive this guide, go to the Generation Solutions website (www.generationsolutions.net), look for the “Services” tab and click on the “Home Modifications” link. Next, find the booklet cover and follow the downloading instructions. This website is secure and safe.