Home modifications may help an elderly person to stay in their home for longer by making the home safer and more accessible. In some cases, this may be the difference between accessing care in your own home and needing to move into residential care.
Take a look around your home and think about how well it meets your needs now, and into the future. Are there areas that you are finding harder to access or use? What if your physical abilities started to decline?
An Australian research study* found that home modifications reduced overall care hours required by an average of 42% and led to a 40% improvement in the quality of life for the people studied.
Interestingly, the modifications do not always need to be expensive and may be as simple as installing handrails in bathrooms or widening doorways. One case study in the research found that installing a handrail from the bedroom to the bathroom reduced informal care hours significantly and allowed the husband to continue to work. Another woman arranged bathroom modifications so her son did not have to help her shower and could instead spend time with his mother on other social activities.
Problems with home design is often a major reason why people move into residential care. Home modifications should focus on strengthening your capabilities by increasing:
- Comfort or convenience
Planning for home modifications should start long before the need arises. If you are renovating your home, think about including features such as extra-wide doorways, extra timber supports in bathroom walls to attach rails if needed in the future and wider footpaths around the house.
A great resource to start your planning is the Home Modification Information Clearing House at www.homemods.info, which is a government information site or speak to your doctor about a referral to an occupational therapist. Call our office on 1300 127 284 to talk about aged care options.
* Source: Dr Phillippa Carnemolla of UTS Sydney https://theconversation.com/renovations-as-stimulus-home-modifications-can-do-so-much-more-to-transform-peoples-lives-140639
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