New Habitat program to help seniors stay in their own homes
Written by: Teresa Douglass
Volunteers paint a house as part of Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness home repair program. Since many of the recipients of this program are seniors, Habitat would like to expand the program to include other resources for seniors such as home safety inspections, Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood Watch. This new program, Aging in Place, aims to help seniors live independently as long as possible.
Before Betsy Murphy retires in June as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tulare County, she’s come up with one more program that will likely catch on and thrive.
She named it Aging in Place.
The nonprofit’s goal is to keep seniors in their own homes as long as possible. By combining the efforts of many organizations, nonprofits as well as local government, Aging in Place will be able to offer seniors more resources. Currently, Habitat provides free home repairs and modifications such as wheelchair ramps and safety bars in bathrooms for seniors on limited incomes.
“We are just in the process now of pulling it together and coordinating with other organizations,” she said.
Habitat would like to partner with the Visalia Senior Gleaners, Meals on Wheels, Self Help Enterprises, Proteus and Community Services Employment Training (CSET), Tulare County Health and Human Services, fire departments for safety inspections and police departments for Neighborhood Watch programs.
To make it happen, Habitat needs your help. Donations, both monetary and in-kind services, and new volunteers are now being accepted for the new program. Be sure to note on your check if the donation is to go toward Aging in Place.
Find out more about Aging in Place by attending Habitat’s Birdhouse Auction fund raiser Friday evening at the Holiday Inn. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served by almost 20 local restaurants and wine served by five wineries. Tickets are $75 at the door and can be purchased in advance at the Habit for Humanity office, at 637 S. Lovers Lane.
Having seniors live in their own homes as they age is good for the seniors and good for the neighborhoods as well, she said.
“At the end of the day, a livable community for older adults is a livable community for everyone,” she said.
Seniors are the eyes on the streets. Many provide childcare and volunteer throughout the community. Aging in place will allow people to age safely in their homes, live independently and receive community-based services.
Through Habitat’s popular A Brush with Kindness home repair and modification program, Murphy realized most of the people who need help in their homes are seniors who cannot afford to make the repairs themselves.
“We decided to focus on them,” she said. “We are still serving seniors but want to do it better.