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Periodic Contributor

Home Modifications

My mother is now widowed and lives alone at 87 years old. She's in great shape and very independent, but is obviously no spring chicken. I'd like to make her home a little more senior frindly for lack of a better term. Easier to move around in, easier to cook and bathe but also safer. Any suggestions on resources or lists i can use to make those changes? I found the following so far:

 

https://homemods.org/

https://assets.aarp.org/external_sites/caregiving/checklists/checklist_homeSafety.html

https://www.seniorsafetyreviews.com/tips/guide-home-senior-safe/

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pubs/english/booklet_eng_desktop-a.pdf

 

I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious. Obviously, the easier the better!

 

Thanks in advance.

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@MarcF886938 Hi Mark! In addition to the great resources Jen shared with you, AARP has a terrific Homefit Guide - click on that and you'll find the landing page where there are numerous other links, resources, worksheets you can download and you can download a copy of the Homefit Guide (or order a print copy be mailed to you - you might want to do both and share the print copy with your Mom as it has some great illustrations of options to make the home better and safer). 

 

The guide has super simple things to highlight what you can do in each room of the hous, including steps and stairways, bathrooms, laundry room, living room and bedroom, garage, outside etc. 

 

Just make your motto "safety first" and you'll do great!  But comfort and quality of life are also very important. For example, if it's important to her to do her own laundry, make sure she can comfortably put clothes in the washer and dryer. Raising up front loading appliances might be helpful.

 

I also included an entire chapter about caring for loved ones at home in my book, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving, and that chapter also includes info on who can help you assess the home in person. There is also a checklist for home modifications and "smart" (or universal) design.

 

Fall prevention is the first step - and it's important to remember that means home modifications from simple things like clearing clutter and removing throw rugs, to increasing lighting, adding handrails, moving the laundry to the main floor, looking out for stray electric cords or other tripping hazards, changing the type of chair your mom sits in (one with arms and not too low is easier to get up out of - at some point a lift chair may be helpful too), and also using technology like monitors and alerts and motion sensors. 

 

A medical alert system (to detect falls or call for help) is usually the first step for home safety, so if she doesn't have one of those here is my column about how to choose one,  How Caregivers Choose a Medical Alert System. If she is still going out in the community I highly recommend one that includes GPS so it is effective wherever she goes.

 

Hope these are helpful resources for you - please let me know if you have any more questions - and share other resources you find too - that's helpful for everyone! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

Community Concierge


@MarcF886938 wrote:

My mother is now widowed and lives alone at 87 years old. She's in great shape and very independent, but is obviously no spring chicken. I'd like to make her home a little more senior frindly for lack of a better term. Easier to move around in, easier to cook and bathe but also safer. Any suggestions on resources or lists i can use to make those changes? I found the following so far:

 

https://homemods.org/

https://assets.aarp.org/external_sites/caregiving/checklists/checklist_homeSafety.html

https://www.seniorsafetyreviews.com/tips/guide-home-senior-safe/

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pubs/english/booklet_eng_desktop-a.pdf

 

I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious. Obviously, the easier the better!

 

Thanks in advance.


Hi @MarcF886938  - thank you for reaching out to us. I'm happy to hear that your mother is in good health and that you are eager to help her age in her home more comfortably. Looks like you have started your research already and that's great!

 

I have a few other suggestions for you as well. First, we have a Care Guide just for this - Help Caring for a Loved One at Home. This free guide, that you can download, can help you step-by-step with this transition. 

 

We also have a document and video on how to prepare your home for safe mobility. And HERE's another great article on how to make your home safe for your loved one. 

 

I hope these articles will get you started toward making the home safe for your mother. Please keep us posted on the transition. 

 

Looking forward to others to weigh in to let us know what has worked for them. 

 

 

AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
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