Savvy Senior: Home Modification Tips for “Aging in Place” | News, Sports, Jobs

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Selling your home and downsizing is a difficult decision and process for seniors.

Dear wise senior,

My wife and I would like to make affordable modifications to our home so that we can live in it for as long as possible. Can you recommend any good resources that can help us figure out what we all need to consider?

– To get old

Dear Customer,

Many seniors, like you and your wife, want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. But being able to do that will depend on how easy it is to maneuver your living space as you get older. Here are some helpful resources you can turn to to get an idea of ​​the different types of features and upgrades that will make your home safer and more convenient as you age.

Home Evaluation

A good first step in making your home more age-friendly is to do an appraisal. Go through your home, room by room, looking for problem areas such as potential tripping or slipping hazards, as well as hard-to-reach and hard-to-maintain areas. To help, there are several organizations that have aging-in-place checklists that point out potential problems in each area of ​​the home, along with modifications and solutions.

For example, Rebuild Together has a two-page “Home Safety Checklist” created in partnership with the Administration on Aging and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Go to and search for “Rebuilding Together Safe at Home Checklist”.

You should also obtain a copy of the “HomeFit Guide” from AARP. This excellent 36-page guide contains over 100 aging-in-place tips and suggestions that can be brought to an existing home or apartment or incorporated into the design of a new residence.

It explains how a smartly designed or modified home can meet the varied and changing needs of its elderly residents. It also offers easy-to-do, inexpensive, and free solutions that reduce the risk of tripping and increase safety in high-use areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and stairs.

Additionally, they also offer videos and a HomeFit AR app (available for iPhone and iPad) that can scan a room and suggest improvements to help turn your home into a “home for life” without safety and security risks. mobility.

Visit to order or download a free copy of this guide, or to watch their videos.

Home assessments

If you want personalized help, you can get a professional in-home assessment with an occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist, or occupational therapist, can assess your home’s challenges and gaps in aging in place, recommend design and modification solutions, and introduce you to products and services to help you make improvements.

To find an occupational therapist in your area, consult your doctor, health insurance or local hospital, or ask family and friends for recommendations. Many health insurance providers, including Medicare, will pay for an in-home assessment by an occupational therapist if ordered by your doctor. However, they will not cover physical home upgrades.

Another option is to contact a builder who is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). CAPS are home remodelers and design-build professionals who are familiar with aging-in-place home modifications and can suggest ways to modify or remodel your home to suit your needs and budget. CAPS are usually paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project.

To find a CAPS in your area, visit the National Association of Home Builders website at where you can search by state and city.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is an NBC Today contributor and author of “The Savvy Senior.”


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Clifton L. Boyd