Welcome to another senior learning institute seminar, today’s topic is Aging in Place. I found that most older adults want to stay in their current home as long as possible. More times than I can count. I’ve heard of being taken out feet first. Very, very common.
What is Aging In Place?
It’s a common belief that if we stay put, we’re being independent. But that’s open to debate. Aging in place is the term used to describe “staying put wherever you call home” that can even be an independent or assisted living community.
Enjoy this FREE SEMINAR where our panel of St. Louis / St. Peters Missouri professionals discuss very real and actionable things you can do right now to make your life more comfortable at home.
So without further ado, here’s our founder, Certified senior advisor, Seniors real estate specialist, nationally syndicated broadcaster and speaker, the advocate you can trust : Mr. Ted Gottlieb.
Today, we’re going to address some of the challenges of staying put. My name is Ted Gottlieb. I’ve been connecting older adults and their families to resources they need for close to 10 years now. I’m the only Missouri licensed real estate broker who’s also a certified senior advisor on aging in place specialist, a seniors real estate specialist with more realtors, and the founder of the Senior Learning Institute.
We’ve assembled a panel of experts in the field of aging, and at this point, we’re going to ask them to introduce themselves. We’re going to start with Becky.
Lasting Impressions Remodeling
Hi, I’m Becky Billue, I’m the owner of Lasting Impressions Remodeling. I’ve been doing this for about 40 years now and I am a certified interior designer as well as a certified agent, employee specialist for two years or two years. I started when I was 10. What can I say?
My name’s Brad Kohlbrecker and I’m the owner of 101 Mobility and we’ve been in business for about eight years. And it’s been we’ve been selling and installing the equipment, allowing people to stay in their homes.
Around the Clock Medical Alarms
Great, Linda, good morning. My name is Linda Bass, I’m the owner of Around the Clock Medical Alarms.
We are a business that provides the purse device, the personal emergency response service, medical alert device, or nationwide. We can help anybody anywhere to be able to maintain their independence and stay safe at home. We’ve been in business for eight years and the industry has been in existence since the 70s.
Mister Fix-it and UPKEEP Home Warranty Plus
Hi, my name is Billy Dawson, I’m one of the owners of Mr. Fix It, we’re the largest handyman service in the area and we keep seniors in place by keeping their homes up to date.
Hi, I’m Kevin and I’m also one of the partners with Lily, and I’m responsible for the UPKEEP Home Warranty and maintenance side of our business.
Great. Thank you very much. Becky, let’s start with you, along with Brad and I earned a certified aging in place specialist designation. What does an aging specialist do?
What we do is we usually go to somebody’s home just to kind of assess it and see if there’s something we need to change or modify in order for them to remain in their home safely. That’s the main thing. If we can if we need to do anything or if they came home from a rehab center, they usually have a list of things they recommend. So we try to go and see if there’s anything else that we would recommend.
Gotcha. What are some of the easier things that we can do to successfully age in place?
Oh, the easy stuff. Throw away your rugs and then after that, check for clutter.
If you have newspapers lying around, magazines lying around, things like that, you’ll want to make sure they’re put away. Look at where your lamps are plugged in and that if got extension cords everywhere, that’s pretty much your password.
So those are very simple. One look and there is other light bulbs and you change out your light bulb instead of using a standard incandescent light bulb. Only gave my last forever. So that’s a whole just a quick, simple, safe change. Right.
And a lot of that often we get a lot of resistance. I tell the story of someone that I’m close with that has a rug in front of the kitchen sink right near the dishwasher. And every time this person walks by that area, they kind of take up the corner of that rug and, you know, sooner or later they’re going to cut your foot on it. They’re just certain things that you can do to really protect yourself. And I know it might look nice, but at a certain point we need to be practical. And if the goal was to stay in our homes and stay healthy in our homes or just certain things we have to do, so maybe get rid of the rug. Simple, simple solution. But there’s so much resistance. That same person that I know also used to sell light bulbs as a as a career. More incandescent light bulbs you can possibly imagine. Yes. And like the idea at age 80, I’m sorry, age 90 to get on a ladder and change light bulbs. Well, you know what an awesome thing. You shouldn’t be on a ladder anyway. But let’s put some LEDs in the last longer and they’ll also give you more light so you can see what you were doing. So just little things like that are just so important and they’re not very expensive.
No, no, no.
I mean, you can a lot of times even changing a doorknob, even if you get that got arthritis or you’ve got one bum arm in that lever style thing and that’ll help.
Yeah, I know. And oftentimes it’s all about saving a little bit of money. And I understand that mentality. I get it, believe me. But if you can spend 10, 15, 20, 30, one hundred dollars and avoid a serious injury or inconvenience, boy, it sure is worth it to you that sometimes you’re waiting for a rainy day and it’s drizzling or raining outside and we don’t realize it. So it’s a certain point we have to hide.
What happens when someone’s home just isn’t going to work for them anymore? Maybe because of accessibility type issues. What are some of the options that we can do to still keep them home?
Well, some things we can do is if, like they’re in a wheelchair or something, we could, like, widen the doorway and try to make it a little more accessible for them, even if they’re on a walker in the kitchen and just take things that are way high on the shelves and move on to a lower shelf. The things that you use every day, even in the bathroom cabinets. And they’re trying to put a shelf that’s easy to reach and they’re instead of who knows where they all are and they’re just rearranging. Some things help a lot, too. And they’re so I mean, if we want to invest in, like, one of those taller twilights, those help a lot for knees and hips at any. That was a. a. a. a giant grace, though, the dollar toilets are also up because I’m told they have touch faucets available where if you just want to touch it with your hand or your breast on. So, I mean, there’s a lot of accessible features that are out there, just easy fixes.
Right? So there’s fixes and there’s some fixes that may cost a little bit more money. But again, help you accomplish your your goal. We’re talking about moving a laundry from the basement to the main floor to a second floor. We’re talking about a total remodel of the bathroom to get rid of the tub or to cut the tub so you can walk in. Yes. Now, some of these things have impact in regard to the saleability of the home. If it’s done well, I think it actually adds value to the.
Oh, definitely. I mean, that’s a lot of people think, my God, accessability is ugly. It’s not.
I mean, you can make accessability beautiful so you can have some pretty bathroom you want. But, you know, they’re not real pretty safety. But I mean, just things like that. We’ve got an amount of marble and onyx and I mean, so they can look nice.
Oh, absolutely. Let’s move on to Brad. Brad, let’s go along those same lines. There are some other solutions out there that we have not talked about yet, and maybe this is a little bit more extreme or someone who has, I guess, more of a accessibility issue. But let’s talk about ramps and stair lifts. What are some of the instances when a ramp leading into a home would be needed and a good solution?
Well, when the person is having problems with the steps so you don’t want to get to the point where they they’re trying they are trying to get up the steps and they fall then now they’re in rehab and then go to the hospital. So you would start talking about that when you see them struggling, sometimes putting a grab bar right next to the door can help them for a little while. But then when the module ramps have handrails so they can walk up it, if they don’t want to be in a wheelchair, they don’t want assistance. Sometimes they’re pride and they they don’t want to be assisted.
They can get a ramp and just walk up and it would be easier for them. So there’s all types of rooms. So some of handrails, some without some are just threshold ramps. So they are rehabbing and they’re in the wheelchair. You just get that little one inch threshold over the door. You can put a little bit of fresh ramps in the front and the back of the door and it’ll be a nice, smooth transition. And those are you can get those for a short term, long term, or you can purchase them to rent to own the rentals. So I don’t think people realize that they just coming out of rehab for three months, rent them for three months.
That’s great. Many times I see folks that have ramps in their garages just going up a couple of steps. It might be a two car garage that they’ve converted really into a one car garage and put a nice ramp there so that they can get in and have accessibility short term, a long term, or it is sometimes a little short ramp that we’re talking about. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garage right off of, let’s say, the kitchen and you could just take a step up, then that’s really wonderful. But oftentimes we don’t we don’t have that luxury, a garage maybe in the lower level. And you have to walk upstairs so we can talk about some some things that we can do there. But let’s talk about the outside front as well. And not everybody uses the outside front of their house. Sometimes it seems like it’s reserved for guests. But we had talked in previous conversations about actually redoing the driveway or at least the walkway and creating a concrete ramp of sorts. Talk to us about that a little bit.
And that goes into universal design. So you just eliminate the threshold at the door and the porch and you can put shrubs next to it and landscape it really nice that people don’t even realize that it’s really an idea. So we can remove the concrete sidewalk and the porch can be modified and they can pour new concrete and it looks really nice and you just roll right up to the door.
So it’s a very nice alternative and people are starting to see that more and more often great.
And again, as a from an aging in place and from a real estate perspective, any time you make that type of improvement like that, oftentimes it adds value to the home and certainly doesn’t distract from it. In my opinion, nothing better than having a new driveway and having a new a new walkway. Again, there’s budgets involved and we can’t always afford to do that. But if that’s something you’re thinking about and you’re planning on staying home for a long period of time, and if you’re redoing your driveway, maybe you make that seamless entry sooner rather than later. So you’re not. That you’re being proactive versus reactive. Let’s talk about the use of stair lifts and sometimes we live in a two story home or the washer and dryer is in the basement. Stereotypes are often a solution to that. Talk to us about what our options are and give us an idea in regard to budgets as to what stair lifts systems cost.
So their lives are good, affordable way to get up to the main level. Maybe if you’re coming out of rehab, you can get to the shower.
Most people don’t have to be on the main level, so they need to get upstairs and they can rent and they can purchase these stair lifts. The straight stair lifts there.
They start out about, I’d say about twenty six hundred dollars and go up. It depends on the options you get started about. I would say about eighty five hundred go up, they can go up to fifteen, sixteen thousand. And those are not rental. And so you have those accustomed to your steps. So we digitally measure those steps and then we send those to the manufacturer and they build the rail to your steps over. So those those are great. If you’re going to stay long term and you love your house, then you know that’s a good option.
Absolutely. And I have a client right now who is moving to an independent living community. And I’ve sold their villa. And while we were preparing the villa for sale, we had the conversation about the stair lift and they bought the stair lift because they had a very nicely finished lower level, which they used for Hobbie. And there was a bedroom down there that they used for gas. But more importantly, their washer and dryer were down there and they used that most of the time to go down to do their laundry. And then they put the laundry basket back up, bring it upstairs. Not the best solution in the world, but it worked very well for them. But while we were doing the what we were walking through and figure out what should stay and what should go, the question of whether the stair lift should come out came up and the homeowner was pretty insistent upon the fact that the stair lift could very well add value to the property of someone older were to come into the home. And lo and behold, these are my 90 year old sellers. The people that came in to buy the house were approaching 80 and love the idea of a stair lift after they got a demonstration for my 90 year old client, showed them how to use the stair lift. It sold the house say yes or no. And they can be taken out. Right, Brad? Pretty easily, if need be.
Yeah, yeah. We’ve we’ve done it both ways. We’ve had people buy service from us and we say just hang onto it. We can remove it if the house sells and the person doesn’t want it.
And it’s it’s getting more common that people, older people are looking to downsize and they’re looking at villas and smaller homes and they see that and they’re like, oh, I want that. Can I get that in the sale of the home?
And so sometimes they don’t. And we will remove them to move a straight real maybe an hour and a half, two hours to remove a carpet.
Now, do the stair lifts.
And well, I want to ask you about one other thing and then I’ll ask you this question, because it really pertains to this next question. If someone’s incapacitated, how does he or she get out of bed? What options do we have? And does the caregiver who often is a spouse but let’s just say it’s a spouse or somebody is coming in to provide care in the home for someone who is incapacitated? What are our options in regard to helping them out of bed?
Yes, we we have patient lives, patient lists, you have many types of patient lives, you have overhead modular and then you have mobile patient lists and some of these can be rented. Some of these cannot and depends on if you want to go to the bed, just get them out of the bed and put them in a wheelchair or their custom chair, or do you want to take them from bed to the bathroom? And that gets more involved in knocking out headers and into the bathroom. And and so those they get more expensive as well. So there’s several options on that. And there’s multiple options as well. We have do we also have what’s called the lift card? So if the person is in a wheelchair, we can actually they can take that with them and then go up steps with that. So that’s another option. So the technology is changing so fast and manufacturers are coming up with some really unique solutions right now.
These are solutions that are becoming a little bit more I don’t want to use the word extreme, but you kind of get the idea that the level of care is ramping up and there’s in-home care options, which will be a conversation for another another seminar that we have. But you have to ask yourself at a certain point, does it make sense to really stay there? I know that’s where we all want to be. Is that in our best interest and in our caregivers best interest? And that’s a decision that only you can make and family can make. But that’s just something to think about at a certain point. Are these does it make sense to stay put as a CAPS certified person?
You basically lay out that that plan and and you lay out the cost and let the family decide, OK, we need to probably go a different direction right now.
Speaking of cost, is most of the equipment that you talked about, the stair lifts and the patient lifts, are those all private pay?
Any options for VA benefits or anything long term care insurance or anything like that.
So if they’re a veteran, I recommend them to go see their VA doctor. They have to be seen by a VA doctor and then they will evaluate that person. And if it’s in my case, they’ll write a prescription and it goes to our prosthetics and they’ll get that start that process. But they have to be seen by a VA doctor, not their personal doctor or private doctor.
Well, thank you, Brett, I appreciate that. You know, often my older adult clients, no matter their physical condition, feel increasingly isolated and vulnerable. It’s the fear that something may happen and no one being around to help it. I mean, just imagine that fear, the isolation itself. So there’s some great technology out there that can help us feel safer and maybe help us stay put longer. And Linda is going to talk with us about that. So, Linda, you know, it’s an old iPhone and I can’t get up. It seems to be the the the one to many jokes that are out there. But it’s but it’s a real thing. Tell us about medical alarm systems and how they work, what they cost and how do we pick the right one?
Well, typically, the industry has all of us thinking that purs device is only for an elder person who falls.
I would like to try to dispel that. It’s for so many more reasons. Fire, ambulance, police.
If your family just wants to make sure that they have peace of mind, knowing that you’re never alone, you can get help. You can have a medical condition that would warrant for you to be in need of this type of service, regardless of what your age is. Typically, the purse is a pendant that people wear and they have it on their person that if something happens that they need help. All they have to do is push that button to be able to get the help they need.
There are so many different devices out there. There are some that you can buy straight out, but you have to be responsible for programming that equipment and making sure it’s charged and changing out the batteries. What I would look for in the industry is for one that is answer by a live person, because if you program on a number and that person doesn’t respond, it’s only as good as the responders. So if you have a live operator who answers the calls twenty four seven, that enables you to have that ability to get the help you need. I would also look for equipment that maybe has a battery backup because if power were to be down, at least you can utilize it until your battery is no longer effective.
But it enables you to have that extra time to to get help.
Let me ask you this, because you had mentioned to the the folks at Monitor it and the dispatchers and I know that’s a critical part of the product that we’re purchasing. And I know you’ve got a special connection in regard to the folks that pick up the phone that through your service. And though we’re not here to self promote, I think it’s really important that people understand that and to ask the right questions about who’s actually monitoring the calls and talk to us about the ideal monitoring set up in regard to who’s actually picking up that call.
Ideally, you want to be able to have someone who can help you during an emergency.
And our particular response center is a leader in the industry and the fact that they are the only one that has EMT certified responders. So every single person who answers our calls, our emergency medical dispatchers. So it’s the same as a nine one one call response center.
The difference in calling 911, one from your home phone and having a first device where they actually answer your response, they actually have demographic information on on site to be able to relay that information to the paramedics who respond to your call so they know not only your name, address and phone number like nine one one. Would they also know your medical conditions or allergies, hidden key information, garage door codes, your family, friends, neighbors that you would like to be called so you could specifically say, I want you to call my daughter so I don’t feel good. And the response center would call Sue, OK, once she gets there, if you do need help, then they can continue and call the ambulance to to respond if that’s the need. So when you have the idea of needing this type of service and in today’s world, it is very imperative with the older folks to please check on your loved ones and your family and your friends, your neighbors, because it’s a very uncertain time and everybody wants to stay home and age in place, but we need to make sure that we keep in touch with them.
One of my fears would be, does the system actually work when I need it to? What kind of testing is involved to make sure that this is working?
Our manufacturer, actually, our leaders in the industry, they actually were the first to offer the voice over IP technology, the 3D technology. And our equipment is programs such that once a week it will check itself. It checks all the phone connections, the battery that’s in the unit as a backup.
It checks the voltage of that. It checks to make sure the phone connections are still working properly. So once a week, it’s doing a self test to be able. Check and make sure all those connections are in place so that it will work, if it detects anything that’s wrong, it sends us messages so that we can call and follow up with that individual to ask them to check and see what’s going on. The cleaning lady could have came in and just unplugged it and so they didn’t know. So just to make sure it’s plugged in. And then once a month we ask our subscribers actually to actually push their button to do a self-test once a month. And it’s kind of a dress rehearsal so that they become comfortable with the sounds it makes, how long it takes to make the connection.
They become more confident in the fact that if they need help, they know what they need to do and they know what happens when they do push the button.
Now, some of them say, can I jump in? I’ve got to say something real quick. All right. I think it’s real important for people to know this difference, because I know that grandma had one, but she didn’t want to push it back when she fell because she didn’t want the paramedics or whatever to break into her house or to find her or she was naked or whatever. And having an alternative to be able to call a family member or the neighbor would be a lot. I think that’s a lot more comfortable than that and saying, oh, my God, I got a paramedic coming in. So just for you know, she thought it was a simple fall and that’s all it was.
Some of these systems work in the house only and some work outside of the house. Help us understand these. And some of them have thall detection on them. Right. Help us understand some of the finer points of these.
Well, technology is advancing rapidly. It’s unreal that the changes that have occurred even in just the eight years that I’ve been in business used to you had to have a standard phone line. It was only limited to your home then charter network, and it invented the voice over IP on AT&T. They started using the voice modem boxes. And so the manufacturers had to adapt so that people could still use it. With that type of phone service, people are ditching their landlines. So then the technology has advanced to where they use the 3G network and 5G LTE now. So then there’s the go anywhere they can use it and take it with them anywhere they go. The thing is, is with the go anywhere is a lot of times a lot of the companies promote it as the greatest thing.
A lot of our elder clients, they are not that tech savvy, the ones that we currently serve. Now, as we age, we will be. But the elder populace now they basically I don’t know that they would have the wherewithal to know that they need to keep it charged like a cell phone, because even grandma may have a phone that she doesn’t use a cell phone. You want something that they are going to use if they don’t use it, if they don’t have it, if they don’t keep it up and service it like it should be, it’s not going to be a benefit to them.
There is also a new technology with voice activated device. It’s an artificial intelligence device to where they can call for it for the help. So, I mean, technology is just rapidly changing the watches. There are devices that are video surveillance, but how many of us want to subject ourselves to being on a surveillance?
I mean, I don’t think that it would be an easy sell and that we could do a podcast on on on all the technology. And we probably should. But as you mentioned, there’s a security alarm systems right in the house, doorbell cameras, Amazon echo, you name it. It’s out there. So we’ll we’ll probably do a seminar just on that, give us a feel for what the costs are for these systems that you had just talked about, the medical alert system so.
Well, basically in the industry, I would say that the price is anywhere from twenty or thirty dollars a month, up to probably one hundred and twenty twenty five hundred fifty a month.
I mean, depending upon what type of options you get and what type of technology you’re buying. But if you think about it, three hundred and sixty dollars a year is less than a dollar a day for that safety and that protection and that peace of mind you. And even if you paid one hundred dollars a month, that’s twelve hundred dollars a year. But that’s less than an E.R. visit or a month’s stay at a nursing home or two months. I mean, it’s just you have to realize that you’re purchasing that peace of mind.
You’re purchasing the ability to get help by pushing a button any time, day or night for any reason. And what is that worth going to?
That makes sense. I got one other question for you. We’re going to move on to Billy and Kevin. So reminder calls or something that we’ve talked about. And again, let’s just. They say that I live out of town, mom and dad are living in a different city, and I want to make sure that someone’s checking up on them all the time or at least a reasonable amount of time. And I’m just so busy that I can’t find the time to do that or there’s nobody around to do that. But we want to make sure that we’re being taken care of. What a reminder calls. And how does that work and what does that cost to do?
Basically, reminder calls, are it just that they enable you to be able to have the ability for the response center to call to check on your loved one, maybe to remind them to take their medication, maybe to remind them to lock the doors before they go to bed at night, just reminding them to make certain that their safety is taken care of in today’s world.
I mean, a lot of times, I mean, people want to age in place. And if we can offer them a tool to enable them to foster that, you know, as long as they can, statistically, the New England Journal of Medicine did a study. They said a person with a purse device actually lives in their homes on average, six years longer than someone who does not have a button. And the reason being is that that person does not become a statistic of someone who has an event happen and they lay there for hours or days.
So if we can help people to maintain their independence and allow their families to have that peace, to know that that mom can stay home, that that is a viable, viable option, then that’s what we’re here to do. And collectively, together, we can help assist people to meet those needs that families are facing every day.
To me, the takeaway from everything that you’ve said is twofold. Number one, if you have it where it especially if you’re in your home, no one’s going to see it. You know that it’s there. And if they live alone. Yeah, absolutely. So you might as well take advantage of it. You’re paying for it. Use it. It’s not going to cost you any more if you have to use it or test it. But check it out, make sure that it works if you’re comfortable. This is really here for your protection. Exactly. We’re going to move on and talk about the idea of maintaining the home as we age, because there may come a time that maintaining the home may be more than we either care to do or can do things like cutting the grass, changing light bulbs, changing smoke detector batteries, changing furnace filters. And that’s what Billy and Kevin are going to share with us. At a certain point, when I was getting busy with my business, I decided I was going to stop cutting the grass. Part of it was a luxury and part of it was my time was better spent doing something else. But now that I’ve gotten older and my body is not working as well as it used to, there’s certain things that I should not be doing or I can no longer do in a competent way. And sometimes when someone dwyre like myself will do something and not do it right and may get done, but ultimately it’s going to come back and bite me, whether it fails or whether it’s noticed when I go to sell my home and all these things that I’ve done have not been done in a professional like manner. And then it’s going to have to be redone or the value of my property might decrease accordingly. So these are really, really important things. So Billy and Kevin, what are some of the more important services that a handyman like you can provide?
Well, like like Becky was saying earlier, you know, we do the toilets, you know, we change up toilets, put in higher toilets on it. We change batteries, typically a handyman service that keeps people in their homes long.
Yeah, and I guess one of the frustrations I see over, I guess, over the last 18 years of selling real estate is that oftentimes we don’t always see what is right in front of us and being able to be proactive and take care of these things, because before they become worse or take care of things that they’re no longer safety hazards is just so critical. And oftentimes I see that things become in such disrepair that by the time we finally realize that something needs to be done, it’s overwhelming and very, very expensive. And I get the idea of being on budgets. I get the idea of not wanting to spend money on things like that. I understand that and I empathize with that. But at a certain point, we really need to take care of the of our shelter. Otherwise it’s going to come back and get us at the tail end. And I always think with my real estate hat on is the fact that when you neglect the house over a period of time, a home that might sell for one hundred thousand dollars may end up selling for 50 because it needs so much work that a traditional buyer may not want to buy it and can’t afford to buy it or couldn’t get a loan to buy it or couldn’t be able to occupy it. So all these things really, really count. So you had mentioned smoke detectors, leaky faucets, toilets, paint. The honey do list is really what we’re talking about.
Yes, we have. We actually come through there and we walked through it. Yeah, people get immune to it. They don’t they don’t see what we see as somebody else coming into the picture as such on our house. So we actually go through, make a list of it and kind of go from there, especially if they’re staying in their house.
Yeah, I love telling the story about the fact that we bought our house 15 plus years ago. There was wallpaper everywhere. There was carpet everywhere. We tore up the carpet. We took down the wallpaper except for the master bedroom wallpaper. Still to this day line to it, we have no idea that it’s there. But I guarantee you, the person who comes in to buy my home or the handyman who walks into my bathroom is going to notice that, my gosh, yes, we actually run into that quite often. It’s horrible. But I agree. You become blind to it. And and it’s perfectly OK for you. And I get that. And then right now, the wallpaper is perfectly OK for us, but eventually it’s not going to be OK for somebody. Yes, our our handyman required in any state. We’re in Missouri, but this is going nationwide. Our license is required to be a handyman in Missouri.
It does not in some other states it does. I kind of wish Missouri was a little bit more conscious of that. With us. You need a licensed electrician if you’re into a circuit breaker box or you need a licensed electrician if you’re involved with plumbing stack. But everything else can be done by a qualified contractor, which we are not anybody, unfortunately, in Missouri with a pick up truck and put in a ladder on the back of the truck. And there are contract.
Yeah, get a truck. Right? Yeah. You got to be careful on who you’re going to use.
Right. Well, let’s talk about that a little bit in regard to how do we qualify someone who claims to be a contractor and a professional. And there are a lot of really good ones out there. But let’s just say, for instance, truck in a truck comes driving by and decides to help us do some work. How do we know that Chuck is the right person to hire?
First off, check your b, b, b, b, b, b gives qualified contractors leads. Even check. Make sure ask them for their their insurance liability insurance work comp. Sure. They’ve got that. The liability inside the houses are tremendous.
Yeah, it really, really is, and that’s it’s really important to do that double checking the BBB is a great source. One of the red flags seems to be asking for cash up front. So let’s talk about that. And then how do handymen, legitimate handymen typically charge for their services?
Most people don’t give out cash nowadays. Even cash is not even good. We asked for 50 percent down, which is normal, and then the rest of it at the end of the job after their homes are satisfied. They’re definitely asked for the half down. Don’t get cash if we’ve even had homeowners offers cash and we go now get us a check or credit card. Debit card down.
Right, used to be cash is king now and now, that’s a lot of people don’t know.
It’s not so much anymore.
All right, let’s talk about a service that you offer that I love. It’s called excuse me, upkeep, and it’s a great program. Tell us about the popularity, increasing popularity of home maintenance contracts.
I’m pass that over to Kevin. Oh, wonderful areas.
Hey, you. Looks like you’ve got a tan today, Kevin. I know. I know. I know. The lady in the conference room. Can you look at. Yeah.
There is an increased demand for maintenance services in general, but there’s also demand for home warranty services. And so we have some companies out there that will combine not only the home warranty, but also for maintenance visits per year just to make sure that the home is maintained in the proper manner, changing furnace filters, changing, making sure the water heater is flushing out things like that that the homeowners don’t normally do or don’t like to do. A I can greatly extend the life of not only the appliances, but also just the pictures that we’re home.
Right. So I know you will go through with a punch list and look at things that need to be done. And you do that over a certain period of time. What do what kind of contracts are involved or commitments are involved? And just help us understand the business of the equation.
Typically, home warranties will have a one year contract.
So and maintenance companies will typically try and sign people up for a one year contract as well.
And again, like we’re talking about before you can use a credit card, the check, the Better Business Bureau on any home mortgage company out there or any service out there, you can get quite good information.
Typically, deductibles involved with service level. You know, the service work that you’re doing.
Yeah, on home warranty companies have the deductibles are kind of across the board. The industry standard, industry average.
It seems to be about seventy five dollars per claim. So if somebody is called in to do a repair or replacement and the home that’s covered under the warranty, the homeowner’s liability may only be about seventy five dollars. Different warranty companies handle it in different ways. Some will say you have to certify not a charge, but you also have to pay for parts. Others will say it’s twenty five dollars charge and a complete fossil part partisanly right now.
One of the frustrations that folks will have with warranties in general is it seems as though, let’s say I buy a house, I have a home protection plan that I get with the house and something happens with the furnace and I get a service call and it doesn’t quite fix it. And then I get another service call and I painted it up and I’m paying the deductible. It seems like once that company runs out of toothpicks, bubblegum and bandaids, they may consider replacing that furnace. How does a program like yours differ than one of those?
Well, specifically because we do a home warranty and maintenance.
We’re very familiar with what type of equipment and everything they already have in their home. And so what we do is if we send out a repair person to take care of this particular claim on it, first, let’s say for some reason or another, doesn’t quite get fixed to send them back out there. There’s no additional charge still just detectable one time because we don’t consider it fixed until it’s actually fixed. And so we’re not going to be charging Superdog each visit. The other difference there is of the other warranty companies will be using contractors to do the work. And so the contractors are the ones that are charging the homeowner that seventy five dollars or whatever it may be. Whereas with a company like ours, they were actually having our employees do the work, that means that the seventy five dollar deductible is being paid to our company. And so that means we can make sure we have better control over the service and got it.
Well, that makes sense. You know, along the same lines in regard to dealing with maintenance items, there’s also the household tasks that need to be done. And in down the road, we’re going to have seminars talking about in-home care options. You know, we seek companionship. We need help with the activities of daily living, like dressing, bathing, meal prep. Oftentimes it’s a spouse who does that. Sometimes there’s no spouse or spouse is not able to do that. So we’re going to talk down the road about the other key component to aging in place, and that is in-home care services. And that’s scheduled for September. And then we also find and we’re going to have conversations with care managers and folks who understand the fact that aging in place is not always cracked up to what it really appears to be in regard to the fact that it could lead to decline in physical and mental health. There’s loneliness, there’s caregiver burnout, which is real, and there’s the need for respite, nutrition. And other things come to mind, so the fact that we all stay, we want to say we want to age in place, it’s not always in our best interest. So we’re going to talk about those down the road in April. Our next seminar topic is going to be on de cluttering, organizing and estate sales before we part ways. Is anybody, any of the panelists have anything else to add that we haven’t talked about?
I would like to say that as our society ages, we as family members and caregivers want our loved ones to be able to have the best quality of life that they possibly can.
When you are considering home care or assistance in the home or needing that kind of service. Look at what other things you can do to help make it a better fit for that individual to maintain their independence. Look at all of our panelists services and realize that there are so many things available to assist people that they just do not know are available. So do your research reach out to people and get those referrals from people that are in the industry to assist you to make the best quality of life for the loved ones, which is what we all want?
Yeah, that’s that’s excellent. And I appreciate you bringing that up.
One of the key missions for the Senior Learning Institute is connecting older adults and their families and their and their advocates to the right resources. The first time these decisions are really, really critical. We’ve all been at it for a long time. We know who the team is out there. And our whole goal is to refer to those folks. And one of the things that we’re proud of here to you as well is that we don’t accept referral fees for making these referrals and making sure that we’re connecting people to the right professionals. And that’s what kind of separates us. This is not a business model for say, yes, ultimately, I’d love to sell a home when you’re done with it. But that’s not what this is all about.
If I can provide that level of support to the community and if I can refer to my referral partners, that’s really what it’s what it’s all about. Anybody else? OK, well, I want to thank you all for participating on the panel. I want to do a shout out to our seminar series sponsors.
For more on them, please check out the resource page on Senior Learning Institute dot com until next time. I’m Ted Gottlieb for the Senior Learning Institute.