Many, many leaves are falling from our stately oak trees to surround our house. This tree canopy keeps us cooler in the hottest part of summer but gifts us with a generous helping of leaves in the late fall. We gather and push them into piles at the front of the yard, to be shredded and taken away by our lawn person. It is an affordable and workable deal for now. Homes that you intend to stay in require levels of maintenance that never stop. One of the main reasons seniors decide to move to a standard retirement community or an apartment, is that they lack the energy to keep up with the regular up keep.
Snow removal, lawn care, leaf and and tree maintenance are as necessary for staying in your home as keeping up with the property taxes. We have been a DIY generation and proud of it; being able to figure it out and fix it. Still you need to know when to call in a reliable service. Many people shy away from the responsibility of hiring yard workers or a local ‘handyman’. Finding money in the monthly budget is also a worry.
What are some of the solutions for older residents? Some communities form a formal volunteer system through a village-to-village networks established by residents for themselves. It depends on a steady stream of volunteers over time. Unfortunately younger families generally have no time to spare for helping neighbors.
Why hasn’t someone on a national scale developed such a service for staying put seniors? I have been waiting for someone to launch a ‘silver hammer’ after the service model of Silver Nest (finding housemates), Silver Ride (rides for elders) or Silver Cuisine (precooked meals). I found several very small organizations (all non profit) in limited geographic areas but nothing moving towards a national scale. The only company I could find on a straight old fashioned profit motive basis is in Honolulu, a local company called TruBlue. They specialize in working for seniors and “active families”
Their promo goes: TruBlue offers one convenient and affordable solution for all your house care needs. Take care of your entire home, inside and out, from maid services, handyman repairs, maintenance, yard work, special project, and even emergency repairs and seasonal projects. Homeowners no longer need to juggle multiple vendors. With one call, TruBlue handles it all.
I hope this is not starting to sound like a commercial. Of course I do not have any idea how much this wrap around service would cost. You can hunt and find people on Angie’s List and Home Adviser, but that is more for special projects or occasional repairs. Some newer housing developments have HOA fees that cover snow removal and lawn care but not the reliable handyman. The independent home owner is kind of left out in the yard so to speak.
Circling back around, I think there is a DIY in this. Now is probably the time to develop a coop or partial hybrid of the village to village concept without the high membership fees. Translation – talk to your older neighbors and see who they use and gather information to share and build on. If you have even a half dozen households that need regular yard work services and the occasional handyman, maybe you can attract small business owners to make some commitments. A grassroots approach with consumer strength in numbers could be a winning combination.