Resources for making a home senior-friendlyPublished 10:30am Friday, December 7, 2012
Dear Savvy Senior,
My husband and I are both in our 60s and are interested in making some modest changes to our home to make it more practical and senior-friendly, but aren’t sure what to do. What resources can you recommend to help us figure this out?
Most seniors, like you and your husband, want to stay living in their own home. But being able to do so often depends on how easy it will be to get around the house if you develop physical limitations. Here are some helpful resources you can turn to, to get an idea of what types of improvements you should make that will make your home safer and more convenient as you grow older.
A good first step in making your house senior-friendly is to do a home assessment. Go through your house, room by room as if you’ve never set foot in it before, looking for problem areas like potential tripping or slipping hazards, and areas that are hard to access. To help you with this, there are various organizations that offer published lists of questions to ask, and things to look for to identify problems.
The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (see homemods.org), for example, offers a number of online checklists including one called “How Well Does Your Home Meet Your Needs?” that you can access directly at homeneedschecklist.org. Or, download and print off the National Caregivers Library “Home Modification Checklist” at caregiverslibrary.org – click on “Checklists & Forms,” then on “Housing” to get there.
AARP also has an excellent resource called “The AARP Home Fit Guide” that provides a checklist and tips to keep your home safe and livable as you age. You can access it at homefitguide.org, or if you’re an AARP member, call 888-687-2277 and ask them to mail you a free copy.