Personal Health and Safety Through Home Modification and Falls Prevention

Let’s face it, home is where people would rather be. It is familiar, comfortable and where you have built a lifetime of memories. And let’s face it, it is cheaper than long term care.

One of the most effective means of keeping your independence and remaining in your own home is to modify it to suit your needs as you age.

Renovations and modifications to meet your changing needs can range from the minor and relatively inexpensive to major renovations, depending on your requirements and budget.

Don’t just wait until you need it!!!!

The earlier you start preparing for aging at home, the sooner these efforts can begin providing peace of mind and positive physical benefits.

Making the effort to prepare for your needs in advancing age is not very different from the kind of responsible planning you did while preparing for retirement. Look into the options early and phase it in over time to spread out the costs.

Home Modification for Seniors: Ideas, Grants and Resource Links

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There are options to meet every budget and size of project.  There is even a wide range of grants and loans available to help you cover the costs of more ambitious projects.  But where do you to start?

First and foremost is a proper assessment of your needs over the long term. You should think about how long you plan to live at your present residence.  What are your current health needs and what needs might you develop over the years you intend to remain at home.  Make sure you also read the section on “Needs Assessment and Fall Prevention.”

Home Modifications and Hiring the Right Contractor

If you are merely thinking of undertaking modest home modifications, there is a wide range of simple products you can install to address a range of ailments from mobility to arthritis.

This includes items like:

  • bath and shower benches,
  • non-slip flooring and mats in bathrooms and kitchens,
  • grab bars, ramps and hand rails,
  • sufficient lighting in high traffic areas,
  • lever handles for sink or tub faucets and,
  • lever door handles.

Larger scale renovations can include:

  • moving bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry facilities to one level,
  • removing transoms at doorways and other trip hazards,
  • widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers,
  • redesigning counters to accommodate a sitting person or person in a wheelchair,
  • positioning kitchen and storage cabinets at easy to reach levels.

No matter which options you choose, it is important that you research products and especially contractors before hiring them.   If the contractor doesn’t understand the needs and physical limitations of an older client, the work can be excellent and to code but may not fit your needs at all.

The Seniors Advisory Committee (SAC) cannot endorse any contractor or service provider.

As the buyer, ultimate responsibility for finding the right person or company is yours.  Ask questions, seek out for reviews and recommendations. Do your research!

However, here is a little bit of what our site’s visitors have to say.  Read about their experiences if you are in search of ideas, or feel free to share your own.

All posts will be pre-moderated, please refrain from inappropriate language or abusive messages

Needs Assessment and Fall Prevention

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Needs Assessment

Before beginning many home modification projects it is highly recommended that you contact the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) 519-436-2222 and ask for a needs assessment.

Such reviews are completed in your home and conducted by a trained professional, usually an occupational therapist.  Appointments can only be booked by referral through the CCAC, although some Family Health Teams have an occupational therapist on staff who you can schedule through your family doctor or nurse practitioner.

The review takes into account your home living environment and physical limitations and recommends ways to make the home safe for you or your loved one.

This can involve modifications and simple renovations or even education on how to look, avoid or reposition furniture, floor mats and pets to limit trip hazards.

Fall Prevention Clinics

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres, VON and the Erie St. Clair LHIN jointly operate a Fall Prevention Mobile Clinic which visits communities across Chatham-Kent.

Theses mobile clinics are staffed by a team of health professionals (Nurses, Physiotherapists, Kinesiologists, Occupational Therapists and Pharmacists) to carry out a variety of assessments and instruct you on actions you can take to lower your chance of having a fall.

At a typical clinic you move through different “stations,” to meet one-on-one with health professionals to discuss different aspects of your health and ability.  Through these assessments, your risk of having a fall will be determined and with your input, an action plan will be created.

Clinics are FREE of charge, and generally last for about 1 ½ or 2 hours.

Falls hurt everyone and can be a life changing experience! In just financial terms, the cost of a fall resulting in a hip fracture is between $20,000 and $44,000. Sadly, many people from our Chatham-Kent community suffer pain and injury from a fall. Don’t risk your independence.

Call 519-352-7270 (public health unit) today for more information on when the next mobile clinic is coming to your area.

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