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Morning Sun
  • EXTENSION CONNECTION: Home Modifications for Aging in Place

  • Aging in place is identified as “remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level. As we age, most of us would like to be able to remain in our home as long as possible.

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  • Aging in place is identified as “remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level. As we age, most of us would like to be able to remain in our home as long as possible.
    Simple home modifications can include adaptations to a home that makes it easier and safer to manage our daily activities. When a home is modified, it promotes independence. This independence allows the occupant to live a longer, healthier life. This often helps retain the nucleus of the family as well.
    Some of these changes can be features made to our home at a low to moderate cost. Adaptations can also simply be items purchased to make independent living easier and safer.
    Whether temporary or permanent, gradual or sudden, people may find that stairs, tubs, or  kitchen areas have become hard or impossible to use safely. Changes in abilities, regardless of how they have occurred, do not need to prevent people from living life to it’s fullest potential.
    Safety is a major reason to make simple home modifications. By adding a grab bar or removing a few throw rugs, you can decrease the chances of a person falling. Falls have caused millions of dollars in medical expenses according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Simple home modifications can range from inexpensive to more costly, depending upon the changes needed. For example, placing a chair at the end of a hallway is simple and inexpensive. Adding a handrail along the length of a hallway is a simple modification that might cost a little more if you need to hire someone to properly install it.
    The cost of simple modifications may seem extravagant, but they do not normally add up to the cost of a month of assisted living or nursing home care.
    Before home modifications are made; take an assessment of the home, working one room at a time. Recognize that the less you have in a room, the safer your home environment becomes. Decluttering creates larger pathways and makes it easier and safer to get around in each room.
    Following is a partial room-by-room assessment you can use to begin your home modification checklist:
    Kitchen:   
    _Purchase easy grip utensils.
    _Rearrange items and supplies used most often within easy reach.
    _Change cabinet handles and drawer pulls to types that are easier to grasp.
    Living Room:
    _Remove the clutter.
    _Remove all throw rugs.
    _Rearrange furniture to open walk areas.
    Bedrooms:
    _Raise the bed for ease of use.
    _Install grab bars near the bed.
    _Change doorknobs to lever-style handles.
    Bathroom:
    _Add grab bars.
    Page 2 of 2 - _Add a seat to the shower.
    Stairs:
    _Add extra handrails.
    _Increase lighting.
    Hallways:
    _Add more lighting, with a switch at both ends.
    _Place a chair at the end of a long hall for resting.
    Outside living areas:
    _Add motion detectors at the front and back of homes to light up walk areas.
    A more extensive Home Modification checklist can be obtained from your local K-State Research and Extension office.  Ask for publication MF3058 or visit the K-State Extension website at: www.ksre.ksu.edu
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