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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
Increase lighting at entryways.
Leave lights on in rooms or hallways
that you walk through after dark. (High efficiency
bulbs and motion sensors at doorways are economical
Change to lever-type door handles if
knobs are difficult to grasp or manipulate.
Install no step, no trip thresholds
Install peepholes on exterior doors
that are the right height for the homeowner.
Install handles and locks on all
windows that are easy to grip at the right height.
Make sure all railings are sturdy
and that handrails are on both sides of all stairs.
Secure all rug edges with
double-sided tape or consider getting rid of scatter
If vision problems are a concern,
create visual contrast on stair risers with paint or
Make sure homeowners can see and use
climate controls (thermostats, air-conditioning
*The major portion of the checklist was
compiled by members of the Occupational Therapy
Association of California, Golden Gate Chapter (San
Francisco), an affiliate of AOTA. This is only a partial
list, and not everyone needs every suggestion.
Individualized home modification strategies and
resources for aging homeowners, their families and
caregivers can be determined by consulting with an
occupational therapist, who will look at the
person-environment fit before making recommendations.
For more information on home modification, visit
www.aota.org or www.rebuildingtogether.org