Sharon brothers-in-law aim to keep seniors safe in their homes

Sue Scheible

Lucy, 93, was determined to stay in her own home and stubbornly resisted all efforts to move her into senior housing.

In bits and pieces, her family had Lucy’s apartment adapted to her increasing needs. They added handrails and grab bars and moved her furniture so she could use a walker. Her bedroom was relocated down the narrow, steep stairs to the former dining room, and a commode was placed near the bed. Eventually, a wheelchair ramp was built at the side entrance.

It all worked, in its way. Only in the last months of her life did Lucy have to go to a skilled-nursing home. But those final years of hassle and patchwork safety took a toll on her family.

Lucy would have been a good case for Bob Berish, 61, and Norm Katz, 71. The Sharon brothers-in-law recently formed a new business, QC Industries, in Stoughton. Their motto is “One call does it all.”

QC Industries, also known as The Electric Hammer, provides a wide range of home repairs and maintenance. The jobs can be as small as changing light bulbs and smoke-detector batteries to ambitious projects like renovating kitchens and bathrooms to make them more accessible.

Berish and Katz employ a crew of people with contracting, repair and maintenance skills.

Katz supervises the building; Berish is certified by the National Association of Home Builders as an “aging-in-place” specialist. He is trained in evaluating homes to make them easier and safer to use with age.

“So much of what we do can be preventive, before a life-changing event like a fall,” Berish says.

One client hired them to upgrade a 1748 home to be wheelchair-accessible and easier for someone with mobility problems.

The basic charge is $50 an hour, with a two-hour minimum preferred for most jobs. But they are willing to accommodate smaller jobs.

QC Industries has completed 71 jobs since August. The prices have ranged from $50 for moving furniture down from an attic to $4,000 for a new kitchen.

Berish says the biggest concern people have is falling, and he targets hazards that should be eliminated. Solutions can be as simple as placing a small table near a door or stairway so that packages can easily be placed there when a resident is coming or going.

Berish and Katz have long involved themselves in community service. Katz served as a selectman in Sharon for 32 years; Berish was on the school committee for 18 years.

“It makes you feel good to know you are doing something nice that is providing someone with a service,” Katz says.

For more information, call 781-341-2800, E-mail or visit

Reporter Sue Scheible can be reached at 617-786-7044, by mail at The Patriot Ledger, P.O. Box 699159, Quincy 02269-9159, or E-mail at