The Rapidian

Handy Helen class empowers female caregivers in home repair skills

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New class empowers female caregivers (age 60 and over) with home maintenance skills.
Underwriting support from:


For more information, or to register for classes, contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616) 222-7014 or email your name and series date to [email protected]


/courtesy of HRS

/courtesy of HRS

Many older women may have relied on their husband to be the handyman around the house, fixing the leaky faucets and keeping up with the home maintenance. But what happens when their husbands are not able to do these chores due to health or memory issues and the role of wife now also includes caregiver?

For some women, the added task of home repairs becomes an additional stress and expense.

Handy Helen is a new class designed to empower female caregivers (age 60 and over) with the skills they need to tackle minor home maintenance projects. Each interactive series will include instruction in minor plumbing, electrical and seasonal home maintenance. Participants will also learn how to use the more common tools in the toolbox and who to call when you can’t fix it yourself.

“There are a number of wives are caring for their husbands and, due to traditional gender roles, may never have needed to learn these tasks before. This class gives them the opportunity to learn the basics alongside other women,” says Anne Ellermets, Contract Coordinator at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “In addition to learning a new skill, they are able to connect with women in similar situations and also get a break from providing care.”

Each series of will meet for two classes at Home Repair Services, 1100 South Division, Grand Rapids, MI 49507. Classes will run from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. with lunch provided.

Respite care for husbands can be arranged at registration, if needed.

Series one will meet on Tuesday May 7 and May 14. Series two will meet on Tuesday June 4 and June 11.

“We are excited to offer this class for older women who are caring for their husbands,” says Judy Jordan, Education Coordinator at Home Repair Services and Handy Helen instructor. “We encourage female caregivers, no matter their current skill level, to give the classes a try. I believe they will walk away from the sessions feeling empowered and confident in handling more minor home chores which can help prevent stress and costly repair bills.”

Classes are sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Caregiver Resource Network, and Home Repair Services and were developed by the Outreach & Access Subcommittee of the Caregiver Resource Network. For more information, or to register for classes, contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan at (616) 222-7014 or email your name and series date to [email protected]

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