SSP’s expanded handyman program helps seniors ‘age in place’

  • An employee of the Senior Services Plus craftsman program carries out a small sanitary repair on a retirement home.

    An employee of the Senior Services Plus craftsman program carries out a small sanitary repair on a retirement home.

    Photo: For the telegraph

An employee of the Senior Services Plus craftsman program carries out a small sanitary repair on a retirement home.

An employee of the Senior Services Plus craftsman program carries out a small sanitary repair on a retirement home.

Photo: For the telegraph

SSP’s expanded artisan program helps seniors determine age.

ALTON – Senior Services Plus (SSP) is looking for seniors when it comes to home repairs and maintenance.

SSP’s Craftsman Program began five years ago but has expanded over the past two years through a partnership with Ameren Illinois and in response to the needs of the community. The program started with one person and now has four full-time craftsmen and one intern, led by Program Director Steve McEuen.

“We started this service because senior citizens in the area were being exploited by contractors,” said SSP Executive Director John Becker.

One case in particular spurred SSP to start the program. One woman received offers on roofs and called Senior Services Plus to compare costs.

“Our maintenance manager made an offer for less than USD 800, the others were USD 1,500 or more,” Becker recalls. “We did it to give her an idea of ​​what bids she should have been given. We decided to put something together for home repair. “

“Aging in place is the trend,” he noted, and 65,000 people will be turning 65 every day in the US for the next 35 years

“People want to stay in their houses, it’s cheaper and they have a higher quality of life,” said Becker. “Our country will not be able to build the housing support for the influx of the aging population that will need it.”

Hence, these seniors will look for adjustments to their homes such as: B. Maximizing life on the first floor, making adjustments to toilets, kitchens and entire living spaces.

“We also guarantee our work,” said McEuen, who has been director for two years. “We will come back and fix it if there is a problem. Of the more than a hundred jobs since I got involved, we only followed up two for minor issues. “

And now, not only because of COVID-19, there is more of a need to have a safe place to live.

“We have found that seniors are very overwhelmed,” said Becker. “There are tremendous local contractors doing a great job, but some from outside the area are taking advantage of seniors.”

SSP’s partnership with Ameren Illinois is the main driver behind the program’s growth, but number two is the national trend in the final years of aging.

As a result of the partnership with Ameren Illinois, SSP has also added HVAC services to its program, which includes repairs to heating, cooling and plumbing installations under the direction of Program Director Joe Alexander.

“We would like to offer people an alternative for services in the Alton region,” said Becker.

The partnership with Ameren Illinois began almost two years ago. SSP was one of 47 companies across the state selected to participate in the Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program’s Market Development Initiative (MDI). The award-winning program promotes action through education and financial incentives that offset the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

“A large part of this partnership is thanks to Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark, who worked to ensure that low-income seniors receive energy efficiency improvements,” Becker said. “And a big part of SSP’s successful handyman program is SSP’s reputation as a trusted person and people know we will do a good job when we go home.

“We offer energy education, direct installations, smart thermostats, kits, and more,” said Becker.

There are currently 300 seniors on SSP’s waiting list for smart thermostats. SSP doesn’t do massive jobs like replacing a roof, putting an entire house down, or installing all of the new windows that SSP refers people to the Better Business Bureau for.

Further information on the tradesman program and future SSP energy efficiency classes can be obtained from SSP at 618-465-3298.

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