Need help with snow removal? A new furnace? There is help for senior homeowners

Help with home repair and maintenance is available to Alberta seniors who quality.

A person’s home is full of memories. Especially for seniors, who may have decades of such memories watching children grow, hosting friends and family for meals, holidays, birthdays and vacations: the home is understandably a huge source of joy. But what happens when aging homeowners find the responsibility of maintaining and running a home increasingly difficult, indoors and out? 

Many seniors are unaware there are provincial programs to help keep their homes in good repair and allow for needed adaptations. The Senior’s Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP), offers loans based on your income, that can be used for anything from a new furnace or roof to electrical upgrades or other safety/accessibility adaptations. Perhaps you need wider doorways and ramps for wheelchair access? Lower kitchen counters, grab bars in bathrooms and other modifications can make the difference between staying independent in your own home, or having to move.

Recently retired university professor Gary Garrison was fortunate with his recent home purchase.  The 1952-built home had been upgraded with inspected work. It was a different story for retired hospital chaplain Harry, who spent $5,000 on his home’s front steps, $20,000 on a new roof and $25,000 on refurbishing his kitchen. Neither needed loans or grants, but these senior homeowners are the exception, not the rule, according to those with Alberta Supports.

For those that need SHARP, grants of up to $5,000 may be available if household income is less than $75,000. Grants (of up to $15,000 over a lifetime) don’t have to be paid back. Loans must be repaid, but can wait until you sell your home. Applicants must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, have up-to-date tax returns, and have lived in Alberta more than three months.

Alberta Supports (1-877-644-9992) will mail out an application package, or you can download forms and find information at alberta.ca. The Senior’s Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE) 780-423-5510, or the Calgary Senior’s Resource Society 403-266-6200 can also help. Alberta Supports advises to allow 10-12 weeks for seasonal work, such as furnace repair or replacement.

Senior Home Supports Program: Crowdfunding

Bob slipped and fell while trying to clear the ice from his sidewalk. No longer able to afford a snow and ice removal contract, Bob felt he had no option but to take it on himself. Data shows older adults have a high risk for serious falls and the injuries and complications that can come from a bad fall can lead to negative outcomes like hospitalization and loss of independence.

After his fall, Bob reached out to Seniors Home Support Program. In providing a subsidy of up to $500 for the winter, Seniors Home Supports Program provided Bob with peace of mind and ability to hire a company for snow and ice removal.   

Seniors on fixed incomes are finding it harder to make ends meet. With inflation, increased cost of groceries and utilities, there are few places to cut costs. There is a new way to contribute to the Senior Home Supports Program (SHSP): through the Alberta Crowdfunding Platform. Through the SHSP page, this platform will help raise funds for the cost of removing snow and ice for those in need. The Seniors Home Supports Program provides a subsidy for those who qualify for financial assistance – contributions will help replenish the subsidy pot.

Donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt. If $5,000 in donations is reached, the Alberta government will provide matching funds for the campaign. Snow and Ice Removal for Seniors 2022 by Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council (alberta.ca)

Significant snow, freezing rain, and freeze-thaw cycles in Edmonton wreak havoc on the city’s roadways, sidewalks and pathways, leading to hundreds of calls to Alberta Health Services for slips and falls each winter. Contributions allow the Seniors Home Support Program to help more seniors cover 2022-23 snow removal costs and keep their walks safe.    

Details at Seniors Home Supports Program (seniorscouncil.net)