As we grow older basic household tasks can become very difficult to manage. People who have been house-proud all of their lives find themselves unable to maintain their homes. Even something as simple as changing a light bulb can become a major problem for an older person who is not in a position to climb on a chair to change the bulb. Other household tasks such as trimming hedges, installing smoke alarms, changing locks, painting and moving furniture cause similar difficulties.
For those older people who are in the unfortunate position of not having family members calling, these tasks can become a source of great frustration. In addition, older people are often preyed upon by rogue tradesmen who intimidate them and rip them off when employed to do work in their homes. Isolation and loneliness are also major problems for older people. Ultimately these problems can make the difference between staying at home and moving to residential care.
The Care & Repair Programme was established by Age Action to carry out minor repairs for older and vulnerable people free of charge, to give them access to reliable tradesmen for larger jobs and to provide a befriending service. The vision of the programme is to enable older and vulnerable people to remain in their own homes, in their own communities, living as independently as possible, through the improvement of their housing conditions and their level of comfort, security and well-being.
The Care and Repair Programme consists of five services:
- The Repair Service uses a pool of volunteers and handypersons to carry out small repairs and to complete minor home tasks for older people. The most common services required by older people are: Minor gardening, minor painting (e.g. front door, garden gate), changing plugs, fuses and light bulbs, hanging curtains, installing security locks and chains, installing domestic smoke alarms. All requests for small jobs are considered.
- The Care Service is a home visiting or befriending service using volunteers to provide regular social contact to older people who are at risk of isolation in their own homes.
- The Trades Referral Service is an option whereby a register of reliable and honest tradespersons is maintained. Through this means, informed recommendations can be made to older people who may have job requirements which are beyond the scope of the Repair Service. In this way, clients can have confidence that the prices charged for these larger jobs by professional tradespeople will be reasonable and that the service provided will be of a good standard.
- The Quote Check Service is a service whereby an experienced volunteer visits the older person’s home, assesses a large job and gives an informed opinion about quotations received by the client from professional tradespersons. QuoteCheck gives the older person peace of mind and the assurance that the prices being quoted do not constitute a “rip off”.
- The Telephone Contact Service is a daily or weekly phone call made to the client at a pre-arranged time. The purpose of the call is to make sure that the client is in good spirits and not in need of urgent support (especially medical attention). The service can also involve contacting clients who have had DIY jobs done to let them know about services provided by other organisations in their community
The Age Action Care & Repair Programme is delivered by Age Action staff and volunteers in Dublin, Cork City and Galway City. In order to make the programme available to older people throughout the country, Age Action works with community groups to train them to run the Age Action Care & Repair programme in their regions with the support of Age Action staff. The community group becomes a partner of Age Action and we work together to provide a high quality service to older people using the agreed standards and quality control of the Care & Repair programme nationally.
For more information on Community Partners and a full map of locations see our Community Partners Webpage.