It’s become much more commonplace for senior or disabled adults to want to age in place. Senior loved ones want to grow old in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by familiarity, friends and family. And continuing to live at home most likely is the more affordable route. Home modifications for senior living may be necessary to achieve this goal. However, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), only one in six home owners has made home modifications that would allow them to be safe and comfortable in their home as they age.
How to Determine Home Modifications for Senior Living?
Each and every room in the house should be evaluated. There are three critical factors to consider when doing an assessment of a home: is it safe, is it accessible, can it be adapted?
- Safety: Are there hazards in the room? Look for cords or wires that could cause a fall. Are rugs flat on the ground? Hand rails should be secure.
- Accessibility: Can your senior loved one reach things, open cabinets, turn on/off light switches, etc.?
- Adaptability: Many items in homes can be modified to make living easier and safer for the senior. Consider wider doorways, stair lifts and lower counters.
The National Association of Home Builders provides a comprehensive aging in place remodel checklist, but here are a few things to look for.
In a bedroom:
- Is the bed at an appropriate height to get in and out of?
- Are cords safely tucked away to avoid a fall?
- Do higher wattage light bulbs need to be installed?
- Do you need an emergency response system?
In a bathroom:
- Is the water heater temperature at the appropriate setting to avoid burns?
- Should a handicap height toilet and grab bars be installed?
- Is the shower and/or tub easily accessible?
In a kitchen:
- Can the senior reach the sink and faucet?
- Can the stove be operated safely? Consider a CookStop.
- Are dishes and utensils reachable?
- Is the flooring in good condition, no slipping hazards?
- Is the kitchen well lit?
While these questions are basic, if your senior is living in a situation with any of these issues it could be very dangerous. Seeking help from an expert is recommended. Home care providers, occupational therapists, and aging in place specialists can help seniors and caregivers with home modifications for senior living. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) has been trained on the unique needs of seniors, modifying homes so someone can live there longer as they age and addressing the most common barriers in a home.
If you would like assistance identifying home modifications for senior living that can ensure the safety of your senior or disabled loved one, please contact Select Home Care Pasadena. One of our specialists can arrange a complimentary assessment.