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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 4 of 7)

An occupational therapist can take the blame off of the person and put it on the environment Ė itís not you Ė itís the home. Explaining that most houses were built when peopleís life expectancies were not nearly as long really rings true for some.

The process of change

Itís essential to recognize and think about changes before they are needed rather than waiting for a crisis situation that may force a person to be removed from a home. Advanced planning empowers the person to make changes for themselves rather than have someone else step in. Often, it you wait until a crisis, individuals will resist even more. 

Expect change and the adoption of new behaviors to occur slowly. The process usually takes several steps including: 1) pre-contemplation; 2) awareness; 3) information gathering; 4) planning; 5) action; and 6) maintenance. 

In the planning stage, consider the Home Modification Strategies recently released from the American Occupational Therapy Association (see sidebar). This resource offers a room-by-room guide of things to look for and changes to consider in the home. 

In his famous graduation speech turned book, Dr. Seuss reminds us in Oh the Places Youíll Go, to:

Step with care and great tact / And remember that Lifeís a Great Balancing Act / Just never forget to be dexterous and deft / And never mix up your right foot with your left.

Life is a great balancing act, but not an impossible one. Through awareness, education, planning and action, you can help your loved ones fulfill their desire to remain in their homes for as long as possible.


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