These days, aging in place is easier than ever before, and many people are taking advantage of the option to remain at home for as long as possible. In fact, over 90% of adults in retirement say they would prefer to age in their own homes rather than move into a senior facility or to a relative’s abode. Living at home may create a more genuine end of life experience, but it does come with drawbacks. Unlike a nursing home, seniors have no access to medical officials and equipment if they have a medical emergency in their own home.
One of the primary medical concerns for seniors living at home is falls. Six out of ten falls occur in home environments, and a little over one third of seniors over 65 years old fall each year. If that’s not startling enough, two thirds of those over 65 who fall will have another accident within 6 months of their first fall. By the time seniors reach 85 years old, what seems like an easily preventable accident becomes the leading cause of death in that age group.
Even if seniors are remembering their fall prevention habits, hazards in their home design are still creating a high risk for falls. There are a lot of opportunities in the design of the home, spanning from simple safety measures to remodeling, so that seniors can enjoy their days without exerting a lot of mental energy on fall prevention. There are some basic modifications that can be made to almost any home but every senior adult has different needs; identifying these needs is the first step toward creating a plan for any home design modifications needed. Occupational therapists are among the most qualified individuals for identifying an individual senior’s needs, and suggesting and implementing any appropriate home modifications.
If a senior’s home will need remodeling or in-depth modifications, it is best to hire a contractor.