Aging In Place Home Assessment

“Aging in place” refers to living where you have lived for years, typically not in a health care environment, using products, services, and conveniences which allow you to remain in the home of your choice safely and independently as you get older. Adapting your living environment for aging in place involves home modification which can make it safer, more comfortable, and increase the likelihood of remaining independent.

It is important to do a thorough assessment of the home to assure that it can properly handle the needs of the individual. The following table provides a summary of items to review and/or consider. Some remedies are a must have while others veer toward luxury upgrades.

 

Difficulty and Remedy:

1. Balance and Coordination Problems-

  • Bath seat in the tub or shower.
  • Bath tub with transfer bench.
  • Counters edges are rounded.
  • Grab bars near the bath and toilet.
  • Handrails extend beyond the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • No stairs to bedroom or bathroom.
  • Phone in the bathroom.
  • Stairway handrails on both sides.
  • Walk-in shower with pull-down seat.

2. Hearing Impairment-

  • Dishwasher is ultra-quiet to reduce background noise.
  • Increased volume on phones.
  • Smoke detectors have strobe lights.

3. Limited Reach-

  • Cabinet shelves are no more than 10 inches deep.
  • Closet organizer to reach belongings.
  • Closet rods pull down to a comfortable level.
  • Clothes washer and dryer are front-loading.
  • Cooktop has easy-to-reach controls at the front.
  • Electrical outlets are 27 inches above the floor.
  • Hand-held shower in bathroom.
  • Kitchen and closets have pull-down shelving.
  • Lazy Susan to reach things stored on deep shelves.
  • Microwave oven is no higher than 48 inches above the floor.
  • Oven doors swing to the side.
  • Pull-out shelves in the kitchen.
  • Side-by-side refrigerator.
  • Sink controls are on the side.
  • Upper kitchen cabinets are 48 inches from the floor.

4. Limited Vision-

  • Edge of counters a different color than the top.
  • Edge of each step is a color that stands out.
  • Increased wattage of light bulbs.
  • Lights are in all closets.
  • Outside walkways, and entrances are all well lit.
  • Stairs are well lit.
  • Steps are a different color than the surrounding area.
  • Stove controls are clearly marked and easy to see.
  • Stove has big numbers that can be seen from across the room.
  • Stove uses different colors to tell which parts are hot.
  • Under-the-cabinet lights are over the kitchen counter.

5. Poor Hand and Arm Strength-

  • Automatic garage door opener.
  • Cabinets and drawers have D-shape handles.
  • Countertops smooth so heavy pans can slide across them.
  • Doors have lever handles.
  • Garbage disposal to reduce trash.
  • Heat-resistant counter near microwave oven.
  • Push-button controls are on appliances.
  • Rocker light switches.
  • Sinks with lever faucet handles.
  • Special hardware to make drawers slide easily.
  • Spray hose to fill pots on the stove.
  • Trash compactor to minimize trash bags.
  • Dishwasher is eight inches from the floor.

6. Trouble Bending-

  • Elevated toilet or toilet seat.
  • Lower kitchen cabinets six inches above the floor.
  • Sink no more than 6 inches deep.
  • Carpet is low pile and a firm pad.
  • Clutter and electric cords are out of pathways.
  • Countertop that can be used while sitting.
  • Doors are wide enough for a walker to get through.

7. Trouble Walking and Climbing Stairs-

  • Driveway is smooth, but not slippery.
  • Floors are smooth and slip-resistant.
  • Knee space under sinks, can sit while washing.
  • Knee space under the stove, can sit while cooking.
  • No area rugs.
  • Ramp to front door with handrails on both sides.
  • Stairs have slip-resistant surface.
  • The threshold on door is no higher than 1/4 inch.

8. Uses a Wheelchair-

  • “Walk-in” closet wide enough for wheelchair.
  • Appliances have controls at the front.
  • Cabinet shelves no more than 10 inches deep.
  • Can use my counter while sitting in a wheelchair.
  • Can wheel from car to the front door and then inside.
  • Can wheel to bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
  • Closet organizer to help reach all belongings.
  • Closet rods pull down to a comfortable level.
  • Clutter and electric cords are out of pathways.
  • Doors and hallways are wide enough for a wheelchair.
  • Electrical outlets are 27 inches above the floor.
  • Enough floor space near doors to move wheelchair.
  • Floors are smooth; carpet has a low pile and a firm pad.
  • Handheld shower.
  • Heat-resistant counter near microwave oven.
  • Kitchen ad closets have pull-down shelving.
  • Knee space under all sinks.
  • Knee space under the stove.
  • Lazy Susan to reach things stored on deep shelves.
  • Microwave oven is no higher than 48 inches above the floor.
  • Oven doors swing to the side.
  • Pullout shelves in the kitchen.
  • Ramp has an edging.
  • Ramp to my front door with landings at bottom and top.
  • Roll-in shower.
  • Side-by-side refrigerator.
  • Space to transfer from wheelchair to toilet.
  • Threshold on door is 1/4 inch or less.
  • Walkway and driveway are smooth but not slippery.
  • Way to transfer into the tub.