According to AARP’s "Home and Community Preferences" survey, 3 out of 4 adults age 50 or older say they want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. And many do: Nearly 9 in 10 care recipients live in their own home, in someone else’s home or in their caregiver’s home. Some homes are well-suited for aging and providing care, but many require modifications.
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When my parents needed 24-hour care and moved in with me, we didn't have the budget to build an addition or completely revamp the house. But with some research and advice, I found easier, affordable ways to make the home safe and navigable. And I continued to adapt as their needs changed. Eventually, I was able to fully remodel a bathroom for Dad’s safety, as well as get entry threshold ramps.
The goal is to help loved ones be as independent as possible at home, for as long as possible. To tailor your or your loved ones’ residence for care at home, you can start with a home assessment by an occupational therapist, physical therapist, geriatric care manager (aging life care specialist), certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS) or qualified professional via the area agency on aging or Department of Veterans Affairs.
Some tips to get you started:
1. Make basic home modifications.
Use universal design principles to ensure the home is comfortable and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Make any alterations easily adaptable, since needs and abilities change over time. A safe home doesn’t have to be unattractive — modifications can be beautiful and stylish. If you engage a contractor, find one who has proven experience in this arena. You can search for a contractor who has the CAPS designation in the National Association of Home Builders Directory. Also, considers AARP’s HomeFit Guide and HomeFit AR app to walk through the home and determine needed changes.