Question: What’s the best way to find good, trustworthy, qualified people who can help seniors with home chores or small jobs? — Looking for Mom
Answer: Getting help at home for any number of household tasks is a lot easier than it used to be, thanks to a number of web-based tools that can quickly and easily connect you and your mom to a wide variety of skilled, carefully vetted workers. Here’s what you should know.
Finding qualified help
One of the best ways to find qualified, reliable, trustworthy people that can help with home chores and other small jobs is through referrals from people you trust. But if your friends or family don’t have any recommendations, there are a number of online companies you can turn to now.
Among them are TaskRabbit.com and Takl.com, on-demand service companies that can quickly and easily connect you to skilled workers to handle a wide variety of household chores and small jobs, such as cleaning and housekeeping, moving and packing, lawn and yard cleanup, handyman tasks, grocery shopping, running errands, furniture assembly, picture hanging, closet organizing and much more.
TaskRabbit currently has more than 60,000 Taskers (workers) in 47 U.S. cities, while Takl currently serves 75 U.S. cities with about 35,000 workers. Unfortunately, they currently do not serve The Press of Atlantic City’s coverage area.
However, another option is Amazon Home Services at Amazon.com/services. Like TaskRabbit and Takl, Amazon will connect you to qualified workers who handle dozens of household chores and other small jobs.
Amazon screens all workers through media searches, online interviews, reference checks and background checks. And all experts need to have licenses and insurance.
To purchase and book a service, you can either buy a prepackaged service with a fixed price (such as two hours of cleaning) or you can submit a custom request and receive estimates. When booking, you select three different dates and time frames and the pro confirms an appointment. All payment is done through your Amazon account.
Need a tradesman?
If your mom primarily needs a tradesman such as a plumber, electrician, painter, roofer or carpenter for home repairs or remodel projects, you should also check HomeAdvisor.com and AngiesList.com. Both of these sites can connect you with prescreened, customer-rated service professionals in your area for free.
Another option you should know about is AskUmbrella.com, which is a fee-based membership service for seniors over 60 that provides qualified, vetted workers to do small jobs in and around the house for only $16 per hour. Currently available in New York, they are expanding nationally over the next year.
If your mom is on a tight budget, you should also contact her nearby Area Aging Agency (call 800-677-1116), which can refer you to services in her area, if available. For example, some communities have volunteer programs that provide chore and handyman services to help seniors in need. And some local nonprofits offer residential repair services that offer seniors minor upgrades and adaptations to their homes.
Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.