Bringing Life Back Into an Aging Home


Bringing Life Back Into an Aging Home

On September 22, Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines and Wells Fargo volunteers completed repairs that brought life back to an aging home on the south side of Des Moines.

Alice Loving and her daughter Robbin Chase currently reside in the home located off Watrous Avenue on the south side of Des Moines. Alice and her husband Bob purchased the home in 1996. The once very small home is now much larger than when originally purchased. Alice and Bob have made numerous renovations over the years. The original floor plan had a small living room, a small kitchen, one bed, and one bath. Now the home has three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a much larger kitchen and living room. Alice, who recently had her 69th birthday, was diagnosed with Lupus in 1974, a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Now that she is older, the disease keeps her mostly dormant, hardly going anywhere but to her doctors.

“This house used to be so beautiful,” Robbin told us. “Mom was a stay at home mom and used to spend a lot of time planting flowers in her garden and taking care of the home. We never struggled growing up as my father made a good living as a CPA.”

Although Alice and Bob have divorced, they remain good friends. He doesn’t live in the home anymore but wanted to be at the house during the workday. Now nearly deaf and blind, he was forced into early retirement and is unable to help out with repairs. Alice and Bob have two daughters. The eldest, Robbin moved back in with her mother when Alice broke her vertebrae. Robbin, who also has health issues has been staying in the basement of the home for over a year now. She struggles to go up and down the basement stairs of her mother’s home. They’ve been wanting to set up a hospital bed in the spare room upstairs for Robbin, but the room has been used for storage. The main bathroom right outside the spare room had also been used for storage. Volunteers removed clutter, including a large set of kitchen cabinets, and set up a hospital bed in the spare room for Robbin. They also deep cleaned and removed items stored in the bathroom.

Volunteers made carpentry repairs and replaced flooring and thresholds throughout the home. New handles and latches were installed on storm doors that weren’t latching and closing properly. They installed new GFI outlets in the main bathroom, half bath, and kitchen. Volunteers replumbed the faucet and drain in the half bath, reconnected the toilet. They also trimmed overgrown trees, bushes, and mowed the lawn. These repairs have been a huge safety concern for Alice preventing her from inviting her grandchildren over to the house. By getting the repairs completed she is hoping her grandchildren will be able to visit and she will feel more comfortable with them in her home.

“It’s so hard to sit here and watch from the window everyone being active and doing the things I used to be able to do. I’ve never needed any help before, but I couldn’t just sit here and watch my home fall apart anymore. I finally reached out to Aging Resources who referred me to Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines.” Alice said. “We’re very appreciative of the help. Anything these volunteers can do to fix up the home is going to be a huge improvement. Thank you to all the volunteers from the bottom of our hearts.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Corporate Sponsorships or becoming a volunteer with Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, contact us.