One of the coolest things about working in Aging in Place is the neighborhoods and homes we get to visit. We go everywhere from the Key Peninsula to Graham to Brown’s Point to Steilacoom. This week, we visited someone in a beautiful little Victorian house built in 1900, and our next visit was an actual log cabin built in the 1930s. We have shopped at more than 20 different hardware stores, farm stores, and lumber yards this year. I also get to meet lots of pets and have befriended dozens of dogs.
The most common project we look at is roofs. We looked at three in a row last Wednesday. I think this is because roofs are so expensive and, since a roof lasts 20-30 years, you don’t have to think about it very often and people are often unprepared when it’s time to replace it.
Another very common thing we look at is grab bars in bathrooms and handrails on stairs. People often need these when they are aging, but also if they have any kind of mobility or balance issues, which can come on at any time from an injury or medical condition. Peter (AIP Construction Manager) and I are both passionate about grab bars now, and believe you should install them before you think you need them.
One way we are trying to grow our program’s capacity is by working with more subcontractors. We are always looking for roofers, plumbers, and electricians. Right now we are specifically looking for heat pump installers. If you know a contractor who might want to work with us and/or provide donations or discounts, please contact me.
Virginia with a client’s dog.
about the author
Virginia Phelps serves Tacoma Habitat as the Aging in Place (AIP) Repair Coordinator. Virginia started working with Habitat in 2019 as an AmeriCorps member, supporting Volunteer Services and Construction. She continued with Habitat beyond her AmeriCorps term as the COVID Safety Supervisor, working through the pandemic to keep our construction sites safe. In the summer of 2021, Virginia accepted the new position of AIP coordinator and says, “Getting to know Habitat families and AIP clients reminds me why I do the work, and the construction crew makes every day fun!”