By 2020 the Census Bureau estimates seven to eight million people in the U.S. will be over the age of 85 — and many of these older adults will live in homes that no longer match their needs and abilities. Most people would like to stay in their home as long as possible, and caregivers often face the challenge of making sure their loved one’s home is safe and comfortable.
Help a Caregiver
Learn easy steps you can take to ensure the home can support the changing needs and lifestyle of their loved one as long as possible. You can help reduce the risk of accidents in the house and provide more peace of mind for the caregiver.
Home design can make a big difference in whether your loved ones can continue to stay in their home comfortably and safely. Discover how small, simple updates to a home may make it easier for the caregiver to help their loved ones go about their daily activities while staying comfortable, independent and injury-free in their home.
Help reduce falls by installing a seat in the shower, putting handrails on both sides of the stairway and using brighter, non-glare lights.
Volunteers can help to assess these simple safety questions:
- Do doorknobs, cabinet handles and faucets have lever handles, which are easier to use than rounded knobs?
- Does the bathtub and/or shower have a nonslip surface?
- Are hallways and staircases well lit?
- Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairways?
- Can you replace traditional light switches with lower-placed rocker-style light switches and thermostat controls?
These are just a few no-cost/low-cost things to help make a home more comfortable and safe to live in. More can be found in Home Safety Tips & Tools (www.CreateTheGood.org).
Help to assess the home to identify potential issues early. That way you can explore options for fixing problems and see what kind of budget may be needed to make any major changes. A great volunteer activity is to go room by room with the caregiver using Home Safety Tips & Tools to identify potential safety issues. Then you may want to contact a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (www.nahb.org/directory.aspx?sectionID=1391&directoryID=188#) who can identify, recommend and/or provide home modifications.
Home Safety and Preventing Falls -
Home Safety Toolkit - www.CreateTheGood.org
Home Safety and Fall Prevention Guides - www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-05-2010/hoorderform.html
Universal Design Principles - www.aarp.org/home-garden/home-improvement/info-09-2009/what_is_universal_design.html
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists - www.aarp.org/home-garden/home-improvement/info-03-2004/caps.html