Home modifications are adaptations to your environment to meet the needs of individuals with physical, social, and cognitive impairments to allow them to remain at home in the safest way possible. Modifications may be as simple as:
- using grab bars in the bathroom and shower
- installation of handrails
- improving lighting
- reconfiguring furniture
- moving rooms from upstairs to downstairs
- or adding assistive devices to increase mobility
Home modifications are an investment. They can provide HUGE savings and are preventive measures that increase your ability to live that home rather than limit you or indicate a decline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research revealed that home modifications may prevent up to 50% of all home accidents among older adults– including falls.
Home modifications should take into consideration these elements:
- Accessibility: This means adding ramps or lift devices, changing countertop heights, making doorways wider and clearing spaces to ensure wheelchairs can effectively pass through them, and placing light switches, outlets and thermostats at easily reachable heights. This remodeling must conform to local and state building codes and should conform to ADA guidelines and regulations for accessibility.
- Adaptability: can be completed quickly and easily to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities or seniors. Examples are adding lighting, magnification, and contrast for low vision, adding grab bars in the bathroom and changing the level of sofas, chairs, and beds to enable safer mobility.
- Universal Design: designing interior and exterior spaces to be usable by all people, regardless of ability, to the greatest extent possible. Examples might include open floor plans so that they are easy to navigate for everyone and flexible enough to accommodate adaptation to individual needs and function with a minimum of effort. Universal Design can be incorporated when remodeling and modifying your home.
- Visitability: A design or home modification that makes the space able to be lived in or visited by people with impairments. For instance, if they have trouble with steps or use wheelchairs or walkers. A home is visitable when it meets these basic requirements:
- A zero-step entrance
- At least 32 inch wide doors with clear passageways
- A bathroom on the main floor that is wheelchair or walker accessible
Where to Begin?
There is no shortage of internet checklists, how-to articles, and recommendations designed to help you decide what type of home modifications to undertake. The reality is that no two individuals have the same battery of needs. One-Size-Fits-All solutions do not exist when it comes to the challenges of preserving and promoting independence and safety in your own home.
At Home of Mine, we believe the first step to making effective and meaningful home modifications begins with understanding you. We first seek to understand your needs, goals, and objectives. The next step is to perform a thorough assessment of your current home conditions as well as your level of function. As therapists, we have unique training to assess your needs, and as licensed Home Improvement Contractors, we can provide options from simple to complicated modifications. If we can’t do it ourselves, we will collaborate with outside resources such as other industry professionals and service providers. Our goal is to promote and preserve your independence while helping you continue to live comfortably and safely in your home.