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Wednesday November 30, 2022

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Home Modification Tips for 'Aging-in-Place'

My spouse and I would like to make some affordable changes to our home so we can remain living there for as long as possible. Can you recommend some good resources that can help us determine what all we need to consider?

Many older adults want to stay living in their own home for as long as possible. But being able to do so 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 improvements that will make your house safer and more convenient as you grow older.

Home Evaluation

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

You will want to get a copy of AARP's "HomeFit Guide." This excellent 36-page guide has more than 100 aging-in-place tips and suggestions that can be made to an existing house or apartment or incorporated into designs for a new residence.

It explains how a smartly designed or modified home can meet the varied and changing needs of its older residents. It also features easy-to-do, low-cost and no-cost fixes that lessen the risk of trip hazards and increase the safety of high-use areas like the bathroom, kitchen and stairway.

In addition, 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 house into a "lifelong home," free from safety and mobility risks.

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

In-Home Assessments

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

An occupational therapist, or OT, can evaluate the challenges and shortcomings of your home, recommend design and modification solutions and introduce you to products and services to help you make improvements.

To find an OT in your area, check with your physician, health insurance provider or local hospital, or seek recommendations from family and friends. Many health insurance providers, including Medicare, will pay for a home assessment by an OT if prescribed by your doctor. However, they will not cover the physical upgrades to the home.

Another option is to contact a builder who's a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). CAPS are home remodelers and design-build professionals that are knowledgeable about aging in place home modifications and can suggest ways to modify or remodel your home that will fit your needs and budget. CAPS are generally paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project. To locate CAPS in your area, you can obtain their contact information by using your preferred search engine.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published February 11, 2022
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