Whether you are looking for ways to make your home safer for elderly friends and relative or trying to decide what home modifications would best serve your aging parents in their home, there are several ways to make a home safer for those choosing to age in place.
A few home modifications such as countertop alterations, grab bars for bathrooms, additional lighting to prevent falls, or wheelchair access points, will help create an environment that is both safer and more comfortable.
Because so many more elderly people are choosing to stay in their own homes, there are even specially trained contractors that focus on home upgrades and remodels that accommodate older people. These individuals are referred to as Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) and they are trained through the National Association of Homebuilders. When you work with a CAPS specialist, you can rest easy knowing the modifications will be done correctly.
Below, we’ve provided helpful tips on how to better accommodate older people in homes.
#1 Observe Your Parents At Home: Aging loved ones living on their own often experience daily struggles that other family members are completely unaware of. If this sounds familiar, on your next visit, step back to observe how well your parents function in their home.
#2 Conduct a Walkthrough: Whether your goal is to make your home or your parents home more elderly friendly, start by conducting a personal walkthrough and check for places that prove difficult to maintain, tripping hazards, slippery floors, moving rugs, or areas that are not easily accessible.
#3 Seek Expert Advice: The Certified Aging-in Place Specialists are able to help with installing handicap accessories as well as provide remodeling services on occasion. Many of these experts also evaluate living spaces inside and out, and offer expert advice on suggested safety and convenience alterations.
A CAPS specialist can:
Suggest alterations that will help enhance at-home independence
Communicate with professional contractors and interior designers to ensure the updates and/or remodels are not only quality built and safe, but are also aesthetically pleasing.
Certified Aging-in Place Specialists will also collaborate with your parents Occupational Therapist to discuss the necessary modifications based on the individual’s mobility needs.
#4 Remember ADA Regulations: If your elderly parents are renting and you’re concerned about the landlord approving the much-needed modifications, the ADA requires that the property owner make reasonable accommodations for disabled renters.
If you’re concerned about costs of an upgrade, a reverse mortgage may be worth considering to make a home safe for your aging in place relative. There are also organizations that provide financial assistance for certain medical equipment installations.
Contact your local CAPS specialist to find out what they can do for you firsthand and ask about other potential resources as well.