Seniors Helping Seniors

Hall of Wisdom

One of the benefits of volunteering your time helping other seniors is working with like-minded fellow volunteers.  We come from all walks of life and apply acquired skills to the tasks at hand.  Each weekly assignment brings new opportunities and challenges.  It has been said that no one has a monopoly on good ideas.  Therefore, it is not unusual that you’ll learn something new while working with different team members on projects.  And sometimes they are real time-savers!  So, since we’re at an age where we often forget more than what we learn, this Hall of Wisdom is an attempt to capture some of those good ideas before they are lost!

We suggest that the next time your Team assignment includes something you’ve never tackled before, pull up this Hall of Wisdom and check if this list includes solutions to problems you may face on Friday.  Similarly, if you are stumped on the job, pull up this Hall of Wisdom on your smart phone and see if it offers suggestions you had not yet considered.   We’re hoping that, if you have good time-saving solutions, you’ll document them so we can add them to the list!

Forms and Specifications

  • Saving time on Friday morning:
    When you receive your assignments on Thursday afternoon, use your PC or Mac to fill out any New Client Release Forms you may need on Friday.  This form is a “fillable PDF” so no need to download it.  Just display the form on your screen and fill out the name, address, and date fields.  Print the form on your printer – CTRL-P on PC/CMD-P on Mac – and bring to the meeting.
  • POH Brochure:  You can print your own copies of the new brochure.
  • City of Plano Property Standards:  Tree Limbs and Branches
  • USPS: Guidelines for Installing Curbside Mailbox


  • Smoke Detectors: Each year we change a lot of batteries on smoke detectors.  Most of these units are of the ionization type.  Next time you do this please check the manufacturing date marked on the base of the unit.  Kidde, one of the largest manufacturers, does not guarantee their sensors beyond 10 years.  They recommend replacing units older than that.

Steve Belson, Sep 2016

  • Chain Saws and Pole Saws:
    First Step:  Fill with oil!
    Last Step: Drain oil back into bottle!
    Our chain and pole saws all have a gravity oil feed system.  You’ll have a puddle of oil if you don’t drain the oil after use!

Safety Interlock: To turn ON your saw, you must first PRESS and HOLD the button next to the trigger, and then PULL the trigger.  It is a right-handed system so, even if you are left-handed, use your right thumb to depress button and then wrap hand around trigger to start saw.  Be careful, that chain is very sharp!!!


  • Grab Bars and Toilet Safety Frames: Plain-O Helpers installs well over 100 grab bars and Toilet Safety Frames each year.  An excellent installation guide has been written: Grab Bar and Toilet Safety Frame Installation
  • Faucet Parts: Teter’s Faucet Parts in Dallas has the largest inventory of special faucet parts.  The next time you can’t find your part at Home Depot, Lowes, or Elliotts, take a picture of the part with your cell phone, including a ruler, and text it to Teter’s (214-549-2525).  They usually respond back to your phone within a few minutes with availability and cost.

Elliotts, Dec 2016

  • Braided stainless steel faucet and toilet hose fittings:
    Plumbing projects often involve tightening compression fittings.  The common unknown is how tight should they be.
    Regarding the braided stainless steel faucet and toilet hose fittings with the rubber cone washer, the suggested approach is this:
    Hand tighten as far as you can. Then with a wrench do one quarter turn more.
    Turn on the water and tighten just enough to stop any drip. Usually there will not be any drip.
    Over tightening cuts the rubber cone causing water loss and hose replacement.

Dwaine Finseth, Mar 2017


  • The client complains about an open/broken/dead circuit and the fuse box shows no fuse problems.  Check and see if there are  any GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) sockets in use.  If yes, there may be multiple GFCI sockets in each bathroom or utility room.  These are typically wired on the same circuit and are therefore in series – if one blows, all sockets downstream from it will be open/dead as well!  Reset every GFCI socket you find.

Bill Kwoka, Dec 2016