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Balancing Act... /
A Balancing Act: Simple Steps to Help
Seniors See the Need for Home Modifications
By Mary Becker-Omvig, MS, OTR/Lfa
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)
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.