Ageing In Place Safely

Things to make it safe at home to stay at home as you age.

6/28/20234 min read


Aging in Place

Aging in place is the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. It is a growing trend, as more and more people are choosing to stay in their homes as they age. There are many benefits to aging in place, including:

  • Increased independence: Aging in place allows people to maintain their independence and control over their lives. They can continue to do the things they enjoy, such as cooking, cleaning, and socializing.

  • Reduced costs: Aging in place can save money on housing, transportation, and healthcare costs.

  • Improved quality of life: Aging in place can improve quality of life by allowing people to stay connected to their community and loved ones.

There are a number of things that can be done to make a home more accessible and safe for aging in place. Some simple modifications include:

  • Install grab bars in the bathroom and shower.

  • Add non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.

  • Install a ramp or lift at the front door.

  • Remove throw rugs and other obstacles from walkways.

  • Install motion-sensor lights in dark areas.

  • Install a home security system.

  • Make sure all appliances and electronics are easy to use.

  • Install a fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector.

  • Consider purchasing Lifeline

More complex modifications may be necessary for people with disabilities or mobility issues. These modifications may include:

  • Widening doorways and hallways.

  • Removing steps and installing ramps.

  • Modifying the kitchen and bathroom to make them easier to use.

  • Installing a wheelchair lift.

  • Adding accessible features to the yard, such as a ramp or patio.

Home modifications can be expensive, but there are a number of resources available to help pay for them. Some of these resources include:

  • Medicaid: Medicaid may cover some home modifications for people who qualify for the program.

  • Veterans Affairs: The Veterans Affairs (VA) may cover home modifications for veterans.

  • State and local governments: Many state and local governments offer programs to help pay for home modifications.

  • Nonprofit organizations: There are a number of nonprofit organizations that offer financial assistance for home modifications.

If you are considering aging in place, it is important to plan ahead and make the necessary modifications to your home. This will help you stay safe and independent as you age.

Safety Awareness

As people age, they become more susceptible to falls and other accidents. This is why it is important to be aware of safety hazards in the home and take steps to prevent them. Some common safety hazards in the home include:

  • Loose rugs and carpets

  • Uneven surfaces

  • Stairs

  • Electrical cords

  • Sharp objects

  • Hot liquids

  • Fireplaces

  • Gasoline

  • Power tools

To prevent accidents, it is important to remove or secure any potential hazards in the home. You should also make sure that all electrical appliances and outlets are in good working order. Additionally, you should have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in your home.

Functional Mobility Access

Functional mobility access refers to the ability to move around and access different parts of the home. This can be a challenge for people with disabilities or mobility issues. There are a number of things that can be done to improve functional mobility access in the home, such as:

  • Widening doorways and hallways

  • Removing steps and installing ramps

  • Modifying the kitchen and bathroom to make them easier to use

  • Installing a wheelchair lift

  • Adding accessible features to the yard, such as a ramp or patio

The combined expertise of an occupational therapist and a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) certified carpenters can help transform your home into a safe haven as you age, ensuring both comfort and independence.

Understanding Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OTs) are healthcare professionals specializing in enabling individuals to engage in meaningful activities and tasks. They possess a comprehensive understanding of how the human body functions and how it interacts with the environment. When it comes to home safety for aging individuals, OTs play a pivotal role in assessing, planning, and implementing appropriate modifications.

Assessing Individual Needs

An OT will conduct a thorough assessment of your specific needs and goals. They will evaluate your physical abilities, such as balance, strength, and coordination, as well as cognitive and sensory functions. By identifying potential risks and limitations, they can recommend personalized modifications to optimize safety and functionality within your home.

Home Modifications for Safety and Accessibility

Working in collaboration with CAPS certified carpenters, occupational therapists provide valuable insights into the necessary modifications that should be made to accommodate an aging individual's unique requirements. These modifications can include:

  1. Eliminating trip hazards: OTs and carpenters can identify and remove potential tripping hazards, such as loose rugs or cluttered pathways. They may also suggest the installation of slip-resistant flooring materials.

  2. Installing grab bars and handrails: Strategically placed grab bars and handrails in key areas like bathrooms, hallways, and staircases can significantly enhance stability and reduce the risk of falls.

  3. Widening doorways: To accommodate mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs, OTs and carpenters may recommend widening doorways to provide unobstructed passage throughout the home.

  4. Adapting bathroom features: OTs understand the importance of bathroom safety. They can recommend modifications such as installing raised toilet seats, non-slip flooring, and adjustable shower benches to ensure ease of use and reduce the risk of accidents.

  5. Improving lighting: Adequate lighting is crucial for older adults with visual impairments. Occupational therapists and carpenters can advise on optimal lighting fixtures and placement, ensuring well-lit areas and minimizing shadows.

  6. Creating accessible storage: OTs can suggest modifications to closets and cabinets, such as adjustable shelves or pull-out drawers, allowing for easy access to essential items without strain or risk of injury.

Collaboration between OTs and CAPS Certified Carpenters

The collaboration between occupational therapists and CAPS certified carpenters brings together their respective expertise to create a holistic approach to home modifications. OTs contribute their knowledge of functional limitations and individual needs, while CAPS certified carpenters apply their construction and renovation skills to bring those recommendations to life.

CAPS certified carpenters are trained specifically in aging-in-place home modifications. Their knowledge of universal design principles ensures that modifications not only enhance safety but also maintain the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the living space. By working together, OTs and CAPS certified carpenters ensure that modifications are not only safe but also align with an individual's specific physical and functional requirements.