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Child Safety Measures Offered by Home Safe Homes

Image of a Kidco Safety Gate installed at the base of the stairs. Image depicts the swinging and locking motion of the gate. In the picture a mother is going up the stairs while a dog sits outside the gate.

As members of the International Association for Child Safety, our goal to help make your home as safe as possible for your little ones. Home Safe Homes offers a comprehensive assortment of child home safety products. One of the most popular child safety products we provide is safety gates. By strategically placing safety gates around your home you can rest assured that your child will be protected from potential hazards, such as stairs. (“Services” 2018)

 

Home Safe Homes installs, KidCo brand child safety gates.

Below are facts about the types of safety gates that we install:

Hardware-mounted gates are bolted to the walls of your home. They’re appropriate where there’s a chance of your child falling, such as the top of a stairway, indoors or out.

 

 

Pressure Mounted Safety Gate installed between the kitchen and living room. In the picture a mother is handing her daughter a snack over the closed gate.Pressure-mounted gates

  • press on opposing walls
  • They should be used only where falling isn’t a hazard, such as between two rooms or to discourage climbing up stairs.
  • not secure enough to use at the top of stairs

Custom-fit gates and fencing can be installed to enclose unsafe areas, such as fireplaces.

 

 

Free-form gates and fencing can be used indoors to enclose your child in a safe play area.

 

 

Home Safe Homes also offers and installs cabinet locks, drawer latches, furniture anchoring, and TV mounting. Our team members will work with you and can make suggestions of where to strategically place safety gates, locks, latches and anchoring to help ensure the safety of your children.

Protect-A-Child Pool Fences

Image of a completed pool fence around an oval shaped pool.

Another way that Home Safe Homes can give Sandwich Generationers more peace of mind is by making their pools safer. The Protect-A-Child, Pool Fence Systems we install do exactly that.

The Protect-A-Child Pool Fence is made with composite fiberglass pool fence posts, with their superior, long-lasting construction, is guaranteed to never bend or break. Our mesh pool fence is completely removable, and it takes only a few in moments to do so. This means it can be removed when necessary and you can take it with you from home to home. With a lifetime warranty, your pool fence will remain safe and attractive for years to come (“Services” 2018).

 

 

 

 

Mesh fence features include:

  • 100% composite fiberglass posts and moldings.
  • Post color is “built-in” with colored resins rather than painted on or coated like aluminum.
  • Impervious to water, sun, and weather.
  • Does not become hot in the sun like metal posts.
  • Assembled with our super strong, weatherproof, PVC coated polyester – transparent mesh.
  • Does not conduct electricity – meets all Electrical Codes for your pool.

Home Safe Homes has been installing child safety measures since it opened in 2001. Our team is passionate about child safety and has 17+ collective years of experience. We can help you determine what the best solutions are for protecting your little ones, and get them installed efficiently and securely. Contact us to set up a home safety evaluation and or pool fence installation. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Source:

“Services.” Home Safe Homes, Home Safe Homes, 2018, www.homesafehomes.com/services/.

 

Learn more about babyproofing your home at Mom Loves Best

The Benefits of Vertical Platform Lifts & Ceiling Lifts

Vertical Platform Lifts

EX-Access PASSPORT Lift being used by a client and his wife, while their children watch

 

Home Safe Homes is proud to partner with EZ-Access, and to be able to offer and install their PASSPORT® Vertical Platform Lift. Our trained professionals can install these lifts to fit your needs and do so efficiently.

The PASSPORT® Vertical Platform Lift (VPL) takes access safety to the next level, delivering a smooth, quiet ride to your next destination. This VPL is most commonly used by individuals who have limited mobility and is the perfect solution for any difficult pathway, porch, or platform (EZ-ACCESS). There are multiple platform configurations and lift heights which make it possible to customize this lift to meet your unique needs.

The sturdy aluminum construction of the PASSPORT® makes it the lightest residential platform lift on the market. This VPL weighs in at fewer than 400 pounds, which is an estimated 300 pounds lighter than similar steel units. The PASSPORT® features Plug-N-Play Wiring Technology that is waterproof and will not corrode, making it both user-friendly, and the preferred lift of technicians and installers (EZ-ACCESS).

There are a number of safety features for the PASSPORT® that make it more accessible and secure. The Undercarriage Platform Safety Pan has an obstruction detector that requires less than 15 pounds of pressure to stop the lift (EZ-ACCESS). When the lift is stopped by an obstruction it will remain operational in the upward direction, but the obstruction or object must be removed to continue traveling downward. The PASSPORT® is made universally accessible using a self-adjusting 24-inch entry ramp that can be built on either end of the platform. When the lift rises, the ramp prevents any accidental travel off the platform by folding upward to provide an added safety measure (EZ-ACCESS).

Image of EZ-Access PASSPORT Control Box. This images shows that there are 3 controls available: Up, Down, and Emergency Stop; along with a keyslot to turn the Lift on and off.The PASSPORT is multi-positional with a keyed operation. It features large, mushroom head control switches (including an emergency stop) that require very little pressure and are easy to use, regardless of motor skills. High-visibility LED indicator lights have been arranged on the control box allow for easy troubleshooting, which leads to fewer service calls. The PASSPORT® is ETL certified*, independently tested and approved for product safety (EZ-ACCESS). Each PASSPORT® comes with a 2-year warranty and is made in the USA.

 

 

 

*ETL Certified:

The PASSPORT has been tested and approved by a nationally accredited testing laboratory, assuring continued compliance with the applicable regulatory and safety standards throughout North America. The ETL Certification Mark is recognized and accepted proof of third-party inspection, testing, and certification. (EZ-ACCESS)

Ceiling Lifts

As an authorized dealer of Molift Hoists and Slings, Home Safe Homes has access to products designed to give caregivers the best support and an optimal environment (“Home Safe Homes Services”).

The Benefits of Ceiling Lifts

Home Safe Homes is a licensed installer and dealer of the Molift Rail System: the flexible ceiling hoist system (“Molift Rail System”).

This railing system solves all hoisting needs of people with disabilities and is the ideal solution for assisting caregivers.

It’s a cost-effective solution for institutions, hospitals, private, and nursing homes. The Molift Rail System is easily customized to suit the design and construction of the room it is being installed in.

Caregiver Health Matters

Home Safe Homes is proud to work with Molift to supply equipment that facilitates handling and moving while reducing the need for heavy manual lifting and handling (“Home Safe Homes Services”).

Molift is a part of etac®, a world-leading developer of ergonomic mobility aids that aim to improve their users’ activity levels regardless of physical condition. They offer state-of-the-art products for countless care situations, for people of all ages. Molift products are designed to give their users’ a better life while delivering caregivers with unsurpassed support and ideal environments to work in. Molift creates solutions that improve caregivers’ quality of life, which leads to healthier caregivers who have more energy to provide attention, love, and care.

As an authorized Molift dealer, we have one mission: To help protect caregivers’ health so that they can provide their clients with the best care possible.

Configurations

There are four main configurations that this extremely adaptable ceiling hoist system is built in:

Single Rail System

Molift Single Rail System displayed in a client's bedroom.Available in straight rail and/or curved rails that provide simple and effective patient transfers for the most common lifting situations (“Molift Rail System”)

 

 

 

 

 

Traverse Rail System

Molift Rail System Traverse SwitchCovers the whole lifting area independent of furnishing or equipment changes in the room and is the most flexible option (“Molift Rail System”).

 

 

 

 

 

Room-to-Room Transfer

molift rail system single rail through doorwayWhen a transfer is needed from one room to another or from one rail system to the next, Molift can provide room-to-room function (climbing), switch systems, or continuing rail systems through doorways, etc. (“Molift Rail System”).

 

 

 

 

Freestanding Hoist Units

Molift-Smart-150. A freestanding patient transfer optionThe best alternative when the lifting need is temporary or when the facility is not built for permanent installations is a free standing option. (“Molift Rail System”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you need assistance getting from one level to the next, from wheelchair to bed, or room-to-room Home Safe Homes has got you covered. Contact us for more information or to set up an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sources:

EZ-ACCESS. Modular Ramps & Stairs | EZ-ACCESS, 2018, www.ezaccess.com/products/passport-vertical-platform-lifts.

 

Home Safe Homes, 2018, www.homesafehomes.com/services/

 

Molift Rail System | Etac.com, Etac, 2018, www.etac.com/products/hoists-and-slings/ceiling-hoists/molift-rail-system/.

Home Safe Homes Installs a Variety of Stairlifts

Is your staircase an obstacle in your home? A stair lift can provide accessibility between the floors in your family home and offer you complete independence despite reduced mobility due to age, disease or injury. Home Safe Homes offers product sourcing as well as the installation of stairlifts including straight stair lifts, custom curved stair lifts, heavy duty stair lifts, or outdoor stair lifts. We offer different models and can customize the one that meets your individual needs.

Below we have compiled a list the features that all Handicare stairlifts have in common, and then divided the additional features into lists placed under the name of the model they are offered with.

Handicare Stairlifts all:

  • Include user-friendly seatbelt
  • Come with 2 handheld remotes which make the retrieval of the stairlift simple
  • Key allows you to prevent unauthorized use
  • Lifetime warranty on the motor and gearbox
  • Each lift has safety sensors surrounding the base, and are designed to stop if they sense an obstruction.
  • Handicare worked with Occupational Therapists when designing their stairlifts to ensure that the toggle control was intuitive and simple to operate, with just a push in the direction you wish to go.
  • All have the ability to swivel towards the landing, either manually or by upgrading to automatic.
  • All allow for an optional manual or powered hinge, or a Slide Track. All of which move the base piece of the track up so that the base of the stairs are left unobstructed. This is particularly useful when there is a doorway at or near the base of the staircase.

“Simplicity” Straight Stairlift

Handicare Simplicity Straight Stairlift

  • Boasts a thin profile of only 11 ¾” when folded, allowing others  to easily use the staircase
  • The seat is able to swivel towards landing with manual and automatic options available
  • Has a Slide Track that moves up the stairs with the lift. This leaves the base of stairs unobstructed
    • Manual hinge also available

 

 

“Simplicity Plus” Straight Stairlift

Handicare Simplicity Plus Straight Stairlift

    • Boasts a thin profile of only 11 ¾” when folded, allowing others to easily use the staircase
    • The seat is able to swivel towards landing with manual and automatic options available
    • Has a Slide Track that moves up the stairs with the lift. This leaves the base of stairs unobstructed. Manual hinge also available
    • Has a powered footrest option so that there is no need to bend to fold it up
    • Fully adjustable Smart Seat fits the user’s width and height for max comfort
      • Available in 6 colors
      • Upholstery is easy to clean & flame retardant

 

1000 Straight Stairlift

Handicare 1000 Straight Stairlift shown with seat in the elevated "Perch" setting, that allows users to safely use the stairlift without having to bend.

  • Standard weight capacity is 350 lbs., while the 1000XXL is able to carry up to 440lbs
  • Can be installed and used either indoor or outdoor
    • Made of UV & weather protected materials
    • Comes with a waterproof cover
  • Perch Seat – This type of seat is ideal for users who have limited range of motion in their hips and or knees. The seat has a low profile that keeps the user safe and secure, without needing to bend.
  • Can be combined with a manual or powered hinge to prevent obstruction of doorways at the base of the stairs
  • The seat is able to swivel towards landing with manual swivel coming standard and the ability to upgrade to an automatic swivel option

Xclusive Straight Stairlift

Handicare Xclusive Straight Stairlift

  • Boasts gentle curves, modern lines and muted tones, which give this model a distinguished look that still offers a lot of comfort.
  • The elegant appearance effortlessly blends and fits in with any interior.
  • Unobtrusive and compact, this stairlift has been designed to maximize the open space on the stairs when folded.
  • The upholstery is removable, allowing it to be laundered if necessary.
  • Has the option for upgrading to a powered footrest

 

 

2000 Curved Stairlift

  • Can be installed and used either indoor or outdoor
    • Made of UV & weather protected materials
    • Comes with a waterproof cover
  • This model comes with a powered hinge, which folds up as the lift is ascending the stairs to prevent obstruction of doorways at the base of the stairs
  • There are a variety of seat options & track colors available. This means that we have the ability to custom color match the track so that it blends well with your home décor
  • Upgrade optional powered features to automatically:
    • Swivel seat towards landing
    • Fold up footrest
  • Perch Seat – This type of seat is ideal for users who have limited range of motion in their hips and or knees. The seat has a low profile that keeps the user safe and secure, without needing to bend.

Freecurve Single Rail Curved System

Handicare Freecurve Curved Stairlift

  • Perfect Solution for every staircase:
    • Inside curve
    • Outside curve
    • Multiple floors
  • Tailor Made Solutions:
    • Made to measurement
    • Use Photo Survey tech to get accurate measurements
    • Multiple rail end variations for the top and bottom of the stairs
  • This model has a joystick, instead of a toggle, which can be placed on either the left or right.
  • Has a powered footrest option so that there is no need to bend to fold it up
  • “Drop Nose” option saves from having to fit hinged track at the base of stairs
  • Automatic Folding Hinge folds up the base section of the track as the user ascends the stairs. This avoids any obstruction at the base of stairs (eg. If there is a doorway)
  • For users with limited knee flexion or narrower stairwells, the Freelift’s 45° downward facing seat and special footplate is a wonderful option.
  • Multiple railing colors available to match home décor.
  • The Freelift Curved Stairlift also offers 3 different seat styles, that each come in a variety of colors.

 

Our Certified Aging in Place Specialist can work with you, your loved ones and therapists to help you decide which stairlift will work best for your needs. Contact us for more information.

 

Sources:

“Home Safe Homes Services.” Home Safe Homes, 2018, homesafehomes.com/services/#stair-lifts.

“Stairlifts Archives.” Handicare, Handicare Accessibility, www.handicareusa.com/product-category/stairlifts/.

Home Safe Homes Can Improve the Safety of the Entrances of your Home with Wheelchair Ramps and Railing!

Increasing client mobility and safety at entrances of the home often includes installation of railing and wheelchair accessible ramps. Home Safe Homes specializes in designing and building permanent wooden ramps that are ADA compatible or installing temporary modular aluminum ramps. Our aluminum wheelchair ramps are also available for rent.

Home Safe Homes works with you to design and build ramps that fit your needs and that will not detract from the beauty of your home. Our custom built permanent wooden ramps are built to last and to help keep you and your loved ones safe. All of our wooden ramps are constructed utilizing pressure treated lumber. We always use screws, never any nails. This is important because nails can cause splits in the wood and pop up over time. Our use of screws makes our ramps sturdy and durable. We always try to adhere to ADA guidelines and do our best to construct the safest ramps possible for our clients.

The temporary modular aluminum ramps and rentable aluminum wheelchair ramps that we offer are from EZ-ACCESS. The portable ramps that we rent and sell are made of lightweight materials that are engineered to provide remarkable strength for either a short- or long-term need. Despite being lightweight, they are able to hold up to 660 pounds. Portable ramps set up quickly and can be folded in half lengthwise and carried like a suitcase when they are not in use. Their handles are non-breakable, flexible and have a comfortable grip, which makes carrying these ramps simple and comfortable. The ramps are textured to create a non-slip surface that provides traction regardless of the weather. Our portable ramps have self-adjusting transition plates on the bottom, which independently adjust to the ground surface making the transition from ramp to the ground flat on most surfaces. If you are looking for a ramp that is durable and portable, we have you covered. (EZ-ACCESS)

We also install EZ-ACCESS’s PATHWAY 3G, Semi-Permanent Aluminum Ramps. These ramps are made of an environmentally friendly, high-strength aluminum that will not deteriorate, rust or rot in the outdoor elements. This makes them practically maintenance free. Their slip-resistant surfaces provide users with traction in any type of weather. There are three surface options and four different handrail styles. The PATHWAY 3G allows for innumerable platform and modular ramp configurations, which create seamless and safe access for both unique and standard entryways. Because it does not alter or add to the structure of your house, it does not affect your home’s property value. What’s more is that installation causes minimal disruption to you and your family because a standard 24-foot, PATHWAY 3G system takes less than an hour to install. All EZ-ACCESS ramps come with a lifetime warranty and are produced in the USA.

Home Safe Homes is also able to install a variety of handrails that are tailored to the location they are needed. We install Gilpin brand Aluminum Railing that is as sturdy as it is aesthetically pleasing. The railing is made of high-grade aluminum alloy and is durable, water resistant, and is virtually maintenance-free due to its powder coating. There are four styles available in either black or white. These options allow you to select the one that best fits the aesthetic that you desire for your home. Depending on which railing type you choose, you also have the option of having either 36″ or 42″ railing height. Most styles of Gilpin railing will slant to allow for use on stairs. All Gilpin railing has a 4″ spacing between each spindle. Our partnership with Gilpin allows us to offer customizable railings that suit your needs and look beautiful. (Gilpin Inc., 2008)

Whether you and your loved ones decide that a permanent, temporary, or portable ramp is the best option for improving the safety of the entrance of your home, Home Safe Homes is able to install the ramp that you need. If a single handrail or a pair is what you or your loved one require, we install a variety of railing that is durable and decorative. At home safe homes it is our goal to improve home accessibility and safety for every generation. Contact us today for a consultation.

Sources:

“Aluminum Railing.” Gilpin Inc. – Summit and Midway Aluminum Porch or Deck Rail, Gilpin Inc., 2008, www.gilpininc.com/Aluminum_Railing.html.

EZ-ACCESS. “Find Portable Wheelchair Ramps Now!” Modular Ramps & Stairs | EZ-ACCESS, www.ezaccess.com/residential/portable-ramps.

EZ-ACCESS. “PATHWAY 3G Aluminum Modular Ramp System.” Modular Ramps & Stairs | EZ-ACCESS, www.ezaccess.com/residential/semi-permanent-ramp/pathway-3g-modular-access-system.

Home Safe Homes Helps Improve Home Safety for the Sandwich Generation

Are you struggling to take care of mom and dad…AND your children?

Home Safe Homes helps people in the sandwich generation* care for both their parents and their children and keep them safe. We offer a variety of services in Child Safety and Accessibility Remodeling.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, we will be posting blogs on how Home Safe Homes can help put Sandwich Generationers’ minds at ease. This week’s blog concentrates the ways we are able to help you improve your parents’ independence in the home through accessibility remodeling, starting with bathroom safety and accessibility

Bathroom Safety

The CDC reported that 81 percent of injuries experienced by those 65 and older were caused by falls and that one of the most common environments, where falls occur, is in the bathroom. Over one-third of older individuals require hospitalization following a bathroom incident. “Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.” (“Home and Recreational Safety” 2017)

Consider these safety tips to reduce falls in the bathroom:

  • Ensure shower doors are made of safety glass or replace with a shower curtain.
  • Take extra care when on a wet surface. Slip-resistant flooring is recommended for bathrooms, such as paint-on applications or self-adhesive non-slip strips.
  • Grab bars are recommended in all positions around the bath and toilet. Never use a towel rail to support body weight.
  • Hand-held shower hoses are a good idea, as are shower chairs or bath seats when mobility or balance is in question.

Home Safe Homes strives to help prevent falls in the bathroom and to increase bathroom safety. Whether it is due to aging, illness or disability, when bathrooms need to be modified to reduce barriers for the safety and comfort of those at home — Home Safe Homes can help. Our professionals can advise you on grab bars and other equipment to modify your bathroom to ensure maximum safety and independence.

It is not uncommon for individuals to need help getting in and out of the tub or shower. One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways that Home Safe Homes is able to aide in increasing bathroom safety is through the installation of grab bars. Home Safe Homes keeps stainless steel, concealed screw grab bars in stock, and carry them on our truck. This means that it is possible for our team member to install grab bars the same day that they do a home safety evaluation.

In addition to grab bar installation, we also offer barrier free shower systems. The barrier-free showers that Home Safe Homes install are Best Bath brand. Barrier-free showers allow for easier entry and exit of the shower, especially for those who have difficulty lifting their foot over the lip of standard showers. Barrier-free showers also make it possible for wheelchairs to roll into and out of the shower, and transferring from a wheelchair to shower bench safer and more efficient. We are proud to partner with Best Bath and be able to install their wide array of barrier-free shower options.

For consultation, contact Home Safe Homes today.

 

* The sandwich generation is a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents.

Sources:

“Home Assessments | Indianapolis, IN.” Home Safe Homes, Home Safe Homes, 2018, homesafehomes.com/services/#bathroom-modifications.

“Home and Recreational Safety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2017, www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.

Improving Home Safety for Individuals with Visual Impairments

Vision loss occurs gradually as we age. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that the leading cause of vision loss is Cataracts. Cataracts affect half of the individuals who are 75 years or older. More accidents happen inside the home than anywhere else, even for individuals who are not blind or otherwise visually impaired. Consequently, it’s imperative that everyone develops and maintains strong safety habits in and around the home. For those who are starting to experience vision loss, this is especially true.

There are many practical and inexpensive ways of making a home safer for individuals with visual impairment.

Lighting and Glare Reduction

  • Make sure their home is well lit, with high-wattage light bulbs and additional lamps or task lighting.
    • The kitchen, bathroom and work areas all should be fully and evenly illuminated.
  • Under-counter lighting is another type that works well for illuminating the kitchen and other larger work areas.
  • Different qualities of light (more white or yellow, for example) might make it easier to see depending on the type of vision loss someone lives with.
    • It is beneficial to determine which types of bulbs produce the best kind of lighting to help your loved one see most clearly.
  • Consider adding gooseneck or clip-on lights to provide adjustable lighting options in work areas
  • Keeping lights on during daytime hours helps to equalize lighting from both indoor and outdoor sources.

Reduce Fall Risks

  • Eliminate small throw rugs
  • Keep electrical cords as close to the baseboards as possible and out of walkways.
  • Keep floor lamps and small items such as low tables, magazine racks, and plants out of walkways.
  • Clean up spills immediately. If you forget the spill is there, it could become a slipping hazard.
  • Make sure your bath mat has a non-skid backing.

Think Bigger

  • Look for items that come with larger buttons and print
    • These items include books, clocks, calendars, checkbooks, remote controls and much more
  • Magnifiers come in handy for items that do not come in large print
    • Some magnifiers to consider are:
  • Create a list of important phone numbers in large print on bold-lined paper. Include doctors, transportation, and emergency contacts, and put the list in a convenient place.
  • Clearly, mark stove dials and label all medications.
  • Label cleaning and toxic products to make them easily identifiable, and store them and any flammable or combustible items away from the kitchen or heating units.

Contrasting Colors are Key

For people with low vision, it is often difficult to find doorways, outlets, furniture, and stairs

  • Choose outlet covers whose colors contrast with the color of the wall
  • Select towels with colors that contrast with the bathroom wall and kitchen cabinets or stove
  • Cups, plates, bowls, and utensils of a color that contrasts with the table and countertop aids in food preparation and dining
  • Utilize cutting boards whose color contrasts with the food item
    • Dark cutting boards for light foods like onions and cheese
    • Light cutting boards for dark foods like tomatoes and apples
  • Pick area rugs that have a solid color
    • Patterns can make it difficult for the visually impaired to identify edges
  • Mark stairs or slopes with brightly colored tape.
    • Eye-catching colors that contrast with the flooring work best.
  • Suggest purchasing a large-screen television that produces high-contrast images.
  • Use brightly colored, fluorescent tape to mark the settings you typically use on your thermostat.

Organization

  • Remove unnecessary household clutter.
    • Offer to help with organizing important items and packing up others.
  • Organize cupboards and specify exact locations for important things.
    • If the cereal is always on the middle shelf of the pantry, for example, your loved one will not need to strain to try to determine if it is cereal or something else.
  • Set up consistent places for mail, keys, and other important items.
  • Use markers to print large labels for such everyday items as cleaning or cooking supplies
    • Be sure to keep cleaning supplies separate from food storage areas

Routine Eye Exams

Routine eye exams are essential to make sure you are wearing the best vision correction possible.

 

Sources

Bursack, Carol Bradley. “How to Make Life Easier and Safer for Seniors with Low Vision.” Legal Documents To Make Healthcare Decisions for Elderly Parents – AgingCare.com, Aging Care, 3 May 2018, www.agingcare.com/articles/making-life-easier-for-older-adults-with-low-vision-111675.htm.

Heiting, Gary, and Marilyn Haddrill. “Tips for Coping With Vision Loss.” All About Vision, June 2017, www.allaboutvision.com/over60/living-challenges.htm#top.

Nesburn, Anthony B, and Judith Delgado. “Vision Loss and Blindness.” Selected Long-Term Care Statistics | Family Caregiver Alliance, Family Caregiver Alliance, 2008, www.caregiver.org/vision-loss-and-blindness.

“Safety in the Home.” Continue Painting with Vision Loss – VisionAware, American Foundation for the Blind, 2018, www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/home-modification-/safety-in-the-home/123.

April is Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

April is National Occupational Therapy Month. This month is all about increasing awareness about all the benefits of Occupational Therapy, as well as the professionals who provide it. Occupational therapists work with individuals from age newborn through adult, which is why there are so many misperceptions concerning OT and also explains why people are not sure what exactly occupational therapy is.

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) affectionately refers to April as “OT Month.” The AOTA states an occupational therapist or OT assistant’s “holistic and customized approach to evaluations, interventions, and outcomes help a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations, assist a person recovering from injuries to regain skills, aid an older adult to stay as independent as possible, and offer the specialized support and services to people of all ages and in all circumstances that only occupational therapy can provide.” (Batema)

There are many different populations that Occupational Therapists can work with. Some work with young children who struggle with motor skills and developmental milestones. Others help people who have suffered in an accident or other life-changing event, Occupational Therapists help individuals to regain fine motor skills they have lost and learn new ways to perform acts of daily living. They may also work with older individuals who are going through mental or physical changes maintain a reasonable level of independence. Occupation Therapists help people get back to work, back to driving, back to acts of daily living that we often take for granted.

The professionals at Homes Safe Homes are not medical specialists, so we work with Occupational Therapists in order to help us know what modifications are needed now and what may be needed down the road as conditions progress. This allows the Home Safe Homes team to make recommendations to the client, and install equipment that will make aging-in-place possible as the disorder evolves.

Batema, Cara. “SpecialNeeds.com.” Occupational Therapy Month | SpecialNeeds.com, SpecialNeeds.com, www.specialneeds.com/activities/general-special-needs/occupational-therapy-month.

Misconception #4: Aging in Place is Only Practical in the Suburbs

According to a survey completed by HomeAdviser, sixty-five percent of homeowners who are over the age of 55 say the physical layout of their home will be appropriate as they age. However, approximately two thirds of those living in rural or suburban homes are more apt to believe this than those who live in urban homes (50 percent). Similarly, urban homeowners are more likely than rural and suburban homeowners to have completed or considered an aging-in-place renovation. Only 21 percent of rural or suburban homeowners have previously completed an aging-in-place renovation and 34 percent of them have never contemplated one, compared to the 31 percent and 15 percent, respectively, among homeowners in urban areas. Collectively, these data suggest a common belief that it’s easier to age in place in rural and suburban homes than in urban homes.

Reality: Cities Have Unique Aging-in-Place Advantages

It may be easier to modify rural and suburban homes for aging-in-place purposes, but this does not automatically make them more appropriate for older adults. In fact, the AARP Public Policy Institute released a new, first-of-its-kind tool stressing the importance of the social aspects of aging in place in 2015. The tool is called the AARP Livability Index. This index makes it possible for people of any age to figure out—at the neighborhood level—how well their community is set up to meet their future and current needs based on a wide variety of metrics, including housing, but also health, environment and transportation, amid others. Thanks to their increased social opportunities, superior neighborhood walkability and better public transit the livability score of urban communities is often higher than those of rural and suburban societies.

“In 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities and by 2030 approximately three out of every five people will live in urban areas” (McIlwain 2011). The percentage of the world’s population over the age of sixty is more than eleven percent today and by 2020 will surpass twenty percent. Due to these statistics, the World Health Organization made the “Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities” which assesses eight characteristics of urban life that make cities more age-friendly. The eight components are:

  • Transportation
  • Respect and social inclusion;
  • Social involvement;
  • Housing
  • Outdoor spaces and buildings;
  • Communication and information;
  • Civic involvement and employment;
  • Community support and health services.

For each of these topics, a set of parameters was produced and issued in “Global Age Friendly Cities: A Guide” in addition to a checklist. Entries on the list range from the specific, such as having sufficient seating in outdoor parks, to the very general, such as having adequate inexpensive housing in safe locations close to the rest of the community and to service . Membership in the network expresses a pledge by the city to apply these guidelines and work to increase its age-friendliness. While it may be commonly believed that urban homes are less suited to aging-in-place, this is certainly not the case.

Sources:

“Aging in Place Report 2016 | HomeAdvisor.” Home Improvement Tips & Advice from HomeAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, Inc., 30 Aug. 2017, www.homeadvisor.com/r/2016-aging-in-place-report/.

McIlwain, John. “Suburbs, Cities, and Aging in Place.” Urban Land Magazine, Urban Land Institute, 17 Aug. 2011, urbanland.uli.org/economy-markets-trends/suburbs-cities-and-aging-in-place/.

Misconception #3: Smart Home Technology is Simply for Convenience

Though the majority of homeowners over age 55 (67 percent) think that as they age it could be helpful, only 19 percent say they have contemplated investing in smart-home technology for that reason. This is likely because technology is still often seen as a luxury convenience rather than a sensible necessity. In fact, homeowners who haven’t considered smart-home technology to assist them with aging in place say that the most common reasons are: that they either didn’t need or are not interested in such technology (45 percent), that it is too expensive to buy (29 percent) and that it’s too expensive to install (25 percent).

Reality: Smart Home Technology Supports Independence

While smart home technology is frequently considered to be nothing more than a luxury convenience, these technologies can help aid in the process of aging in place and also increase the livability of the space for people of any age. For example, a smart refrigerator that automatically senses when groceries run low and is able to order new ones when needed. This single appliance that creates convenience for a young family can ensure that a homebound senior receives nourishment consistently.

It isn’t surprising that older adults are less likely to adopt smart home technology than young adults who are more familiar with it. This paired with the fact that smart home technologies are still coming into existence means that they are still expensive, which can make older homeowners even less likely to invest in them. Luckily, as time goes on prices will drop and the so-called “digital divide” will close.

 

Sources:

“Aging in Place Home Design: Features for “Thriving in Place” – Design Tech Homes.” Aging in Place Home Design & Build for Thriving in Place, Design Tech Homes, 2017, www.dth.com/our-learning-center/homeowner-tips/aging-in-place-home-design-features-for-thriving-in-place.

“Aging in Place Report 2016 | HomeAdvisor.” Home Improvement Tips & Advice from HomeAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, Inc., 30 Aug. 2017, www.homeadvisor.com/r/2016-aging-in-place-report/.

Misconception #2: Aging in Place is About Aging

Approximately 2/3 of homeowners age 55 or older report that they feel they are proactive when it comes to making aging-in-place home modifications. Nearly 90% say that they are familiar with aging-in-place renovations, additions, or products.

However, home modification professionals tell a different story. For example, over half of the experts that HomeAdvisor surveyed say that less than 10% of the projects that they are hired for are related to aging-in-place. Only about 20% of home modification professionals said that their clients reach out to them preemptively, before they are in immediate need of aging-in-place renovations. Most specialists stated that the majority of homeowners in need of such modifications sought them out reactively for a number of reasons.

The most common time that home owners hired home modification professionals for aging in place overhauls was after they or one of their loved ones acquired a worsening condition that over time will limit their independence (33 percent). The second most common time came as the result of a major medical incident or recent (25 percent), or because they are worried about a minor medical incident or fall that they experienced recently (19 percent).

In conclusion, the main reasons that home modification professionals were hired for aging-in-place are safety and accessibility, with only a small portion of the projects being done to allow for ease-of-living. While many homeowners want to be proactive about aging-in-place, most are held back by the misunderstanding that this will “senior-proof” their home prematurely.

Reality: Aging in Place is About Livability

The main purpose of aging-in-place projects is to make the homes more safe and accessible. “Aging in place isn’t about special add-on features that will only help you once you’ve fallen and incurred a disability,” says Rodney Harrell, Ph.D., director of Livable Communities at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “It’s about making functional home improvements that make spaces more useful and more usable for anyone, anytime.” (“Aging in Place Home Design: Features for “Thriving in Place” – Design Tech Homes” 2017)

In reality, countless popular aging-in-place enhancements— such as zero-step entrances, wider doorways, open floor plans, and motion-sensor lights— not only make the home safer, but can also increase the quality of life in a home. Such improvements often go undetected, but have the potential to be equally beneficial to homeowners in their thirties and forties as they are to those who are in their seventies and eighties.

“Aging in Place Home Design: Features for “Thriving in Place” – Design Tech Homes.” Aging in Place Home Design & Build for Thriving in Place, Design Tech Homes, 2017, www.dth.com/our-learning-center/homeowner-tips/aging-in-place-home-design-features-for-thriving-in-place.

“Aging in Place Report 2016 | HomeAdvisor.” Home Improvement Tips & Advice from HomeAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, Inc., 30 Aug. 2017, www.homeadvisor.com/r/2016-aging-in-place-report/.