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Spotlight: CSSW Home Maintenance & Safety Services

The end of February means that spring is almost here! Spring means a lot of things to different people, but to homeowners it can mean coming out of hibernation and making repairs that weren’t able to be done in colder weather. We recently sat down with Laura Krieser, the Home Services Manager for Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County. Read on to learn about the services the Home Services Program offers, what happens when you pick up the phone, and more! 

Ahead of the Curve: If you had to give an “elevator speech” about what your organization does, how would you describe it? 

Laura Krieser: Catholic Social Service of Washtenaw County has a variety of services to support the needs of the community. When it comes to older adults, the Senior Services Department strives to make the aging process meaningful and positive through the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, Retired and Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP), Resource Advocacy, Volunteer Caregiver Respite, the Home Maintenance and Safety Program and of course Ahead of the Curve. Each of these programs in the Senior Service Department have a different emphasis but they collectively promote successful aging. 

AOTC: Walk me through the step-by-step process. What happens when you get a phone call/referral? 

LK: When a call comes into the Senior Services Home Services Program (734-971-9718 ext. 352), the caller will speak with me. I will get an understanding of what the caller needs assistance with and will determine if that need is appropriate for the Home Services Program. If it is, I will complete a service intake. This progress helps us obtain demographic information for our funders as well as background information to help identify any other areas of need or potential areas that support can be provided. If the request does not fit into the program, a more appropriate resource option will be provided 

AOTC: What organizations do you work closely with? 

LK: We have the privilege of working closely with many local organizations such as Area Agency on Aging 1-B, Jewish Family Services, and Michigan Visiting Nurses to name a couple. We openly welcome collaboration with agencies and love working together with others to positively impact on the community. 

AOTC: What are some things you wish the public knew about your program? 

LK: I wish more people knew of the Home Services program and reached out to us sooner. It’s always hard when someone calls in with a home maintenance need that is beyond the scope of our program but if they had called in sooner, when the issue was minor, there is a strong likelihood that we would have been able to help. The Home Services program’s intention is to promote sustainability through minor home repairs. 

AOTC: What tips do you have for someone with a loved one that needs home repairs (or needs home repairs themselves)? 

LK: My first tip is to stay on top of any home repairs as much as possible. A minor repair can escalate over time, so it’s best to take care of repairs right away. My second tip is to have a plan in place for home maintenance. The more you plan for what is to come, the better you are at navigating the process. A small savings for home repairs is a great starting place! Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are resources available to help ease the load.

Aging is no small feat! The more you plan for what is to come the better you are at navigating the process. Have an open conversation about needs and expectations. It should be a collaboration or partnership between the individual providing support and the individual receiving support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

AOTC: Is there anything you would like to add? 

LK: Feel free to call with any questions! 

Thank you to Laura Krieser for sharing information about this important community resource! You can find out more about the Home Repair Program by visiting the website or calling (734) 971-9718 ext. 352 

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