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Question

Any suggestions on resources or lists for how to make a home easier to move around/cook/bathe in and also safer as one gets older?

Answer

AARP has a terrific Homefit Guide -- Click on that and you'll find the landing page where there are numerous other links, resources, and worksheets you can download. You can download a copy of the Homefit Guide (or order a print copy to be mailed to you. You might want to do both, as the print copy has some great illustrations of options to make a home better and safer). The guide has super-simple things that you can do in each room of the house, including steps and stairways, bathrooms, laundry room, living room, 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, make sure you can comfortably put clothes in the washer and dryer. Front-loading appliances that raise up 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 you sit 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), and one that includes GPS if going outdoors, is usually the first step for home safety. Here is my column about how to choose one: How Caregivers Choose a Medical Alert System

 

A few other suggestions: 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. 

 

Some other resources include:

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

 

 

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