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A Balancing Act: Simple Steps to Help Seniors See the Need for Home Modifications

By Mary Becker-Omvig, MS, OTR/Lfa

(Page 2 of 7)

Because investigating resources can be the biggest obstacle a person faces when considering home modifications, becoming aware of different products and services can really help to facilitate this process. Subscribing to a catalogue that carries home modification products is a good idea and can easily be found by conducting a quick “Google” search on the subject. If you find something you think might be immediately useful, try introducing the idea of change in the form of a gift, like a new bathmat with non-skid backing. Or, if some regular home maintenance is already being performed, include handrails, if necessary, as part of that project. 

Community resources, like area agencies on aging, can be enormously helpful and are good places to start. These agencies may be knowledgeable about products and local services that can help with home modifications and offer referrals on aging resources – both subsidized and private. 

Sometimes, resources may be in your own back yard. Neighbors and friends who have successfully adopted changes can be great role models.

2. Assessing
While a professional who specializes in aging is the best person to provide a complete assessment, there certainly are things caregivers can begin to do that will be enormously helpful when a professional is brought in. 

Carefully observe and look out for any changes in the home and with the person. As you look around the home, ask yourself if the environment has changed in any way. Is it clean? Is anything broken? Is there food in the kitchen? Has the laundry been done? As for the person, have you noticed whether they are forgetting things? Are medications being taken? Are bills being paid? It’s good to keep an eye out for any kind of change in typical, everyday behavior. 

These are things you can learn from observing. There are also things you can learn by asking. You might not always get a complete response, but you will have started the dialogue and reinforced your efforts in raising awareness. 

Consider asking

What kinds of things are you having difficulty doing at home?

 

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