Member Spotlight: Jesse Kirchhoff with Handyman Solutions/The Aging in Place Store

Published in Home Modifications on May 20, 2020

When it comes to helping customers find the solution that best suits their needs so they can continue living at home, Jesse Kirchhoff goes above and beyond. Jesse Kirchhoff CAPS, CEAC is the owner of Handyman Solutions/The Aging in Place Store. Jesse got his start in the home modification industry after his mother became sick with cancer 11 years ago.

“I realized that there was very little easy-to-find information available if you didn't know the "correct" search terms to look for,” said Jesse. “[There was] nothing telling us what kind of modifications were recommended or what type of equipment was available to help her stay in her own home other than the typical drug store variety on the shelf.”

At the time, Jesse owned a small remodeling business. He made it his mission to track down anything that he could find to help his mother stay at home. After a few years, he discovered that his true passion was helping those like his mom stay in their homes for as long as they could. From that point on, he began training, earning certifications, touring facilities, and attending medical trade shows with his employees to see what all was available.

Today, Handyman Solutions/The Aging in Place Store creates solutions for their customers that best meet their needs and gives them the ability to stay with their families. Employees are expected to meet high-level of standards for customer service, education, and skill.

“I take our role as trusted advisors very seriously,” stated Jesse. “I thrive on it, and it gives me purpose.”

An example of the hard work and dedication of Handyman Solutions/The Aging in Place Store is when they went above and beyond for a customer in hospice that simply wanted to get outside and enjoy his local park. The only way for him to reach a vehicle was via a very long set of steep stairs, which was not an option due to his reliance on a wheelchair. The other option was to make the trek by pushing the wheelchair through the grass, around a retaining wall, and up a muddy and rocky hillside at the edge of the woods. Both VPL and IPL were ruled out due to cost. The ground protection mats that were originally discussed were right at $2,000 plus labor cost for this project and would have taken several weeks to arrive. Due to very tight budget constraints and the need to help this person just as quickly as possible, Jesse and his team created a temporary wheelchair path in the lawn by using OSB plywood ripped down to 3’x8’ sections, which were attached end-to-end with 3/8" thick strips of an old rubber truck bed mat and pinned with 12" spikes/fender washers on all four corners of each section. The cost of material was only $250. The total cost came to $750 after donating a good portion of labor.

Though Jesse would have preferred to use treated lumber for longevity, the smooth and slick surface of treated lumber versus the rough/grippy surface of OSB (especially on a steep incline) was a no-brainer when it came to the customer’s safety.

“Safety is always first priority,” stated Jesse. “Longevity and aesthetics will always be second.”

See the below and after pictures of this project below.

Working hard to ensure that all customers are taken care of is extremely important to Jesse, especially because he knew how overwhelming and confusing all the accessibility options could be from his experience with helping his mother. Before she passed away, Jesse promised his mother that he would make a showroom for other families to try out the accessibility equipment and see what did and did not work for them in order lessen their confusion and make things easier at home.

“She always worried about others and put their needs before her own, so this was something that she really appreciated,” said Jesse.

Jesse is currently building an accessibility and mobility equipment showroom in their existing warehouse. It will showcase the aging in place home remodeling that his company does, as well as the specialized equipment that they sell and how to use it. The showroom motto will be, “Why not try it before you buy it?"

“We plan to host ‘nights of knowledge’ by inviting different groups and nurses, caseworkers, home health aides, etc., so that they can spread the word that there is hope for those who choose to age in place in their own homes.”

Helping customers find the best solution for them to continue living at home is extremely important to Jesse. Through his experiences learning about the home modification industry and by helping his mother age in place, Jesse makes sure that customers find the solution that best suits them and their needs.

“Our customers look to us to protect them and offer the very best solutions for their situation and budget. They rely on us to know the things about accessibility through our past experience and education,” says Jesse. “I see my own mother in each and every one of them.”

Pictures:

Before installation of temporary wheelchair path in the customer’s lawn:

Outside

Outside

After installation of temporary wheelchair path in customer's lawn:

Outside

Outside

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