Harold and Linda Rice have been active most of their lives. Harold worked as a clinical psychologist in the military before transitioning to the economic sector. Linda worked full time until 2001 when “retired” to care for her ailing mother.
In recent years, the table has turned with the couple experiencing health issues. Settled into their home of 20 years at 95th Street and State Line Road, Harold is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and Linda has grappled with heart surgery and recovering from several falls. With no children, the Rices had little help to keep up with things. In order to stay in their home, which they love, the Rices needed help.
“There are so many things around here we cannot do let alone afford to do,” Linda said.
That’s when the Rices found Jewish Family Services and its Help@Home program.
“We had nothing but our social security but we talked with a lovely counselor at JFS who said ‘We can be of help in many ways including Help@Home,’ Linda said.
Help@Home is part of JFS “aging in place” philosophy. Help@Home was started 11 years ago to meet the needs of Kansas City’s growing older adult population by offering high quality, dependable home repair services and a greater access to a variety of other services provided by community handymen and volunteers. Help@Home helps older adults maintain their independence and provides them, as well as family members, with peace of mind.
The Rices signed up for Help@Home; soon thereafter a community handyman came to their home helping put up handicap rails, repair a screen torn off by an animal and other chores around their home.
“It has allowed us to stay here and keep our house in decent condition,” Linda said. “I don’t know what I would do without everyone over there. They have kept us going.”
Help@Home is available to anyone 60-plus or those younger than 65 with disabilities, regardless of faith or ethnic background. The program covers all of Johnson County, Kansas, and a portion of Jackson County, Missouri including Kansas City, Grandview and Raytown.
Another benefit of Help@Home membership is access to Occupational Therapist Dr. Brandy Archie with AccessAble Living, who provides a comprehensive home safety assessment. Do you have a new hip? Dr. Archie and a Help@Home handyman can meet members at their house to ensure grab bars are well placed and members are well situated to recover.
Help@Home, with all of its services, is available for monthly fee of $85 with no labor charges! JFS offers a sliding scale to clients for whom that fee is too great. Help@Home services include minor plumbing and electrical jobs, installing safety equipment like handrails and grab bars, caulking, weatherizing and many other minor home repairs. Handymen and volunteers can assist with other “around the house”’ chores like assembling items, moving things, hanging pictures, flipping mattresses and cleaning gutters – things that are challenging for some older adults.
Members may use Help@Home services as often as needed. To date, hundreds of older adults have taken advantage of all Help@Home has to offer—but there is room for more members to join.
“It is a great thing to be involved with,” said Linda of Help@Home at JFS. “It is a good source for help and everyone is super.”
If you would like to give the gift of Help@Home to a loved one, join yourself or just find out additional information, please contact Sondra Atherly, Operations Manager for Older Adult Initiatives at JFS, by calling her at (913) 327-8239 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who wish to volunteer for Help@Home can send an email to email@example.com or call (913) 730-1410.