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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 7 of 7)

Living Room and Throughout the Home

  • 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 lighting solutions.)

  • Change to lever-type door handles if knobs are difficult to grasp or manipulate.

  • Install no step, no trip thresholds at doorways.

  • 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 rugs.

  • If vision problems are a concern, create visual contrast on stair risers with paint or tape.

  • Make sure homeowners can see and use climate controls (thermostats, air-conditioning units).

*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 or


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