Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 52

Home Modifications:
An Investment In Safety
COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

HOUSING

n Barry Lowe

The demand for handicap accessible housing will
increase in future years as seniors become a larger
share of our population. Most will choose to live and
retire in their own home rather than move to a nursing or assisted living facility.
As we mature and grow older, getting around our
home becomes more difficult. Many of us will experience at least a temporary disability. Each year,
according to the Centers for Disease Control, one out
of every three adults age 65 and older suffers a fall.
Accidents will happen and you could find yourself
in a wheelchair or in need of a walker. Fortunately
many accidents are largely preventable. Be proactive
by making your home more accessible with simple
home modifications that will improve your lifestyle
and the ability to age in place. Both minor and major home modifications done by experts have proven
to significantly reduce or at least lessen the seriousness of injuries at home. Some examples of widely
used modifications are:
n Wheelchair/walker ramps
n Alternate door or cabinet handles
n Hand rails in hallways and stairs
n Grab bars in showers/tubs
n Walk in tubs
n Power stair lifts
n Widening of doors to accommodate a walker or
wheelchair
n Adjustment of counter heights
Finding an experienced, licensed contractor familiar with handicap-accessible home construction
can be a real challenge for anyone. As you consider
needed home modifications, ask these key questions:
1. What are the family member's abilities and
disabilities as they relate to accessibility, both in

52

Answers Guide 2017	

and around the home?
2. Where can I get a reliable checklist to identify
modifications that need to be done?
See comprehensive list on page 50.
3. How can I find a licensed contractor to do the
necessary work?
The National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB.org) can provide a list of contractors compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are
"Certified Aging in Place Specialists."
4. How do I select a licensed contractor?
n Call the Contractor State License Board toll
free at 800-321-CSLB (2752) to have the booklet
"What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor" mailed to you.
n Get at least three bids.
n Hire only licensed contractors. Anyone performing home improvement work valued at $500 or
more must be licensed by the Contractor State
License Board.
n Get the contractor's license number and verify
license status on-line or by calling
800-321-CSLB (2752).
Once the modifications are identified, the senior,
family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers must be educated about each home modification.
Familiarity with the modification will minimize falls
and injuries. These changes will help eliminate readmissions to medical facilities and lower medical
costs, something that everybody wants.
To learn more about home modifications, visit the
National Resource Center on Supportive Housing
and Modifications at www.homemods.org.
Barry Lowe is the Owner of At Home Living Solutions, www.athome4.com

COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IS A 501 (C)3 NONPROFIT CORPORATION.
TO DISTRIBUTE
ANSWERS FREE OFResource
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ADVERTISING SPACE.| WHILE
WE APPRECIATE THE PAID
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Aging
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Connection
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| www.adrcoc.org
INCLUSION DOES NOT IMPLY A RECOMMENDATION OR ENDORSEMENT OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES BY COASC. ALWAYS BE A VIGILANT CONSUMER. VERIFY INFORMATION AND SEEK REFERENCES WHERE APPROPRIATE.


http://www.NAHB.org http://www.homemods.org http://www.athome4.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Contents
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Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover3
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