Keep it Simple. Home Modification for Aging in Place

The National Association of Home Builders defines Aging in Place as “remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”

Before home modifications can be made, an assessment of the home needs to be taken. The assessment should be done one room at a time. In each room, consider what adjustments should be made to the room to make the space safer and more accessible. Assessing the rooms individually will keep the task from becoming overwhelming. As rooms are assessed, recognize the less you have in a room, the safer your home environments become. By removing items from the home, a safer, more friendly environment results, allowing one to age in place longer.


Why make simple home modifications?

Simple home modifications can include adaptation to a home that makes it easier and safer to manage activities of daily living. These changes can include adding or removing simple features of the home with low to moderate cost. They could also be simple purchased items that could make independent living acceptable. There are many benefits to modifying homes to age in place. These benefits would vary depending upon the home’s occupants. To some, the benefits would be cost savings; to others, it would be improved safety. Independence could also be a benefit. Simple modifications will allow people to stay in their homes longer, which also helps people maintain a sense of dignity.

Over the course of their lives, many will experience home environments that no longer help, but rather hinder daily activities. As needs change, so should home environments. Whether temporary or permanent, gradual or sudden, people may find that stairs, tubs, or kitchens have become hard or impossible to use safely. Changes in abilities, regardless of how they occur, do not need to prevent people from living life to its full potential. Basic home modifications and well-designed products can facilitate independent living and privacy.

When a home is modified, it promotes independence. This independence allows the occupant to live a longer, healthier life. This often helps retain the nucleus of the family as well. People like to live where they have familiar items around them. They like to be where memories were made and don’t really want to leave their homes and familiar surroundings. Safety is another reason to make simple home modifications. By adding a grab bar or removing a few throw rugs, you can greatly decrease the chances of a person falling.

Cost can be a factor when considering home modifications so first look at the simple home modifications like lighting and organization. Adding a handrail along the length of a hallway is a simple modification that may cost a little more but will provide immediate helpful benefits to the residents.

Simple home modification can also help with some primary physical

disabilities, including:

  • hearing,
  • vision,
  • sense of touch and dexterity,
  • strength and range of motion,
  • mobility and agility, and
  • balance and coordination.

Cost will vary depending on what modifications you choose to do and where you live. People who live in a more rural area might have a hard time finding someone who could help with the more challenging permanent modifications, but there are options available when permanent solutions cannot be done.

Whether the home requires simple modification or more complex ones, modifications can allow individuals to remain in the home longer, saving them money, making their living environment safer, and giving them more independence.

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