By Teelin Lucero, Community Outreach Director
We already know that remaining in their own homes and communities is a priority for people of all ages, and this tends to become increasingly more important to individuals as they advance in age. Older adults closely associate their ability to live independently, at home, with their ability to express autonomy over their lives and continue relationships that are important to them.
We also know that there are significant challenges to this continued independence, and that many small factors and barriers can turn into huge impediments to the ability to stay at home. Things that seem like very minor problems when we buy a home at a young age, or tasks which once seemed simple, can eventually make a home impossible to live in as a senior. At Innovations in Aging, part of our mission to create a new vision for aging involves addressing these housing concerns, both through preventative advocacy for people who may be buying and building homes now, and through modifications and adjustments that make it easier to age in place. Furthermore, we are committed to advocating for affordable housing and having a voice in senior care so that individuals who do decide to move out of their homes have safe, affordable, and happy options available to them as well.
The AARP is a wonderful place to start learning about how to make a house a “Lifelong Home” for people of all abilities. They have produced several worksheets and guides, called ‘Homefit” to assess how age friendly a home is, and help correct problems before they become crises. Some of the criteria assessed in Homefit are as simple as whether or not there are flashlights in easy reach on each level of the house in case of power outage, to as potentially problematic as whether there is at least one step-free entrance to your home, and whether there is a bedroom, full bathroom, and kitchen located on the main level. The Homefit criteria are helpful for individuals who are thinking about building a home or moving into a new one, but they are also accompanied with advice and recommendations for remedying possible issues before they become impediments to remaining at home. To view the Homefit guides, click here.
If you have more questions about Homefit resources, or would like information on supportive services for aging in place, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.