The Council on Aging Fix It Volunteers are driven with a willingness to make a difference, and a sincere desire to keep the seniors living in a safe dwelling.
Here on Amelia Island and Nassau County Florida, we all know of the 5 outreach programs offered to the senior community by the Council on Aging. From transportation services and meals on wheels to Adult Day Healthcare, in-home services and 2 senior centers, COA serves the needs of seniors in this county for more than 40 years.
The Fix It Volunteers is a “new” service that assist seniors with repair issues in their homeplace.
One of Nassau County’s many charms is the sense of rustic Florida with all the nature that comes with it. Sometimes the natural world gets a bit too close, however. Homeowners all over Nassau County are all too familiar with raccoons and possums, and the occasional loud bump as tree limbs or heavy branches hit the roof during storms. But what happens when you’re an elderly person, living alone, and a heavy tree branch lands on the roof? Unfortunately, there are often no immediate symptoms and soon it’s forgotten. Time and weather may then become the enemy.
Seniors throughout the county have this happen to their homes regularly. If there’s no damage to the roof, the branch is just a nuisance. However, if the limb or branch rips a shingle or punctures the roof underlayment, this leads to a cascading deterioration of the home.
Bart Cormier, a Council on Aging of Nassau County (COA) Fix it volunteer, says little roof problems will grow into large expensive roof problems over time.
“The cost of replacing a few shingles or even a small segment of a roof pales in comparison to the many thousands it would take to re-roof a home and perform interior restoration.” he says.
“When I get a call to an elderly person’s home where there is a complaint of water leaks from the roof, I hope to make a small roof repair, but too often the problem has festered far too long, and there’s severe water damage manifested in wood rot and interior mold. That’s when the WHOLE roof needs to be replaced along with an interior restoration!” he explains. “I went to one seniors’ home and the roof was literally rotted all the way through with extensive damage to both the attic area and the interior ceilings due to repeated rain storms and animal infestations,” Cormier explained, “It severely limits our ability to help them”.
The Council on Aging wants to spread the word that if you are a senior who needs help in any number of areas, give them a call (904) 261-0701. The agency has lots of volunteers with different skill-sets who want to help out in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the COA asks that you become vigilant of things that happen during storms affecting your roof. Also, be sure to alert your neighbors if you see something they might have missed, such as a large fallen limb.
The COA Fix it volunteers continue to reach out and assist as many seniors as time and budgets allow. Unfortunately, the scope of the repairs that the COA Fix-it volunteers can do is mostly limited to common handyman skills, as volunteers may have no professional repair skills beyond the basics, limited tools, and general capabilities of typical Do-It-Yourself (DIY) homeowners.
However, they are driven with a willingness to make a difference, and a sincere desire to keep the seniors living in a safe dwelling.
“Your day isn’t close to perfect unless you can help someone that you know cannot pay you back. I really subscribe to that,” Cormier says.