Working for Whitehorse - home maintenance and modifications

Whitehorse News - August 2021

"Home is where the heart is."

After more than a year of being stuck indoors, we all know the significance of making our homes feel like a safe sanctuary. This is why Gary Dunn’s work is so important.

Gary is a Home Maintenance Officer with Whitehorse Home and Community Services (WHACS). WHACS provides a range of services to Whitehorse’s older residents to support their independence, wellbeing and strengthen their community connections. Gary contributes to this vital work by making homes more accessible and functional.

“I have two main fields of work – home maintenance and home modifications,” said Gary.

“Maintenance jobs can involve changing light globes, fixing or installing new smoke detectors or unsticking doors.”

These tasks seem simple, but they make a considerable difference in the lives of his clients.

“If people can’t get up on a ladder to fix their kitchen lights, they end up making dinner in the dark – it’s awful,” said Gary. “Even just relighting a pilot light means they can turn on their heating.”

Home modifications make up the majority of Gary’s work.

“I work with an occupational therapist to install aids around the home, such as a grab rail in the shower, a bannister rail on the front steps or a wheelchair ramp.”

Having these aids around the home gives older residents confidence and independence.

“A lot of these people have lived in their homes for decades and want to stay living there,” said Gary. “We make that possible and ensure they’re safe.”

The proof of Gary and his team’s work is in the glowing feedback he and his team receive. Clients have commended his “kind disposition and friendly attitude that make the process smooth,” and his “cordial, efficient and professional” manner.

Gary and his team’s impact on his clients goes beyond his handiwork.

“For many of my clients, I’ve been to their homes numerous times so they know me well,” said Gary. “It’s an extra comfort for them to have a friendly face around to help out.”

“My team and I always ask if there’s anything extra they need done, whether it’s taking the bins out or moving some furniture.” For Gary, every day of his work is rewarding.

“You really see the difference you’re making in people’s lives. Whatever it might be, when you make these modifications, you can see within the clients that they’re empowered and happy in their own homes.”