The evidence is clear that people like staying in their present homes. We like this fact also because we are trained to help them do this and look forward to them engaging us to make their living spaces even better for them. Very few people readily admit that want to choose a nursing or retirement home or some other type of facility over their present home – even when they have issues to contend with and manage. So we stand ready to make improvements to their homes, from minor to major, for a variety of needs and budgets so that we can help them realize their ultimate objective of aging in place and remaining in their current forever home long-term.
As we study what people have in their homes and observe how they relate to the features and layouts of those homes, we may spot several issues that need to be addressed, modified, or rectified. Many people are doing well enough in their homes as they are – even without any improvements – but they could do even better with some modifications to address normal aging issues or deficiencies in the layout or features within the home itself.
It could be vision issues that affect their color or depth perception, their visual acuity and how well they can see objects in front of them, navigate their space safely, or read signs, labels, instructions. The could need much more lighting to perform tasks that they have taken for granted over the years. They might be more susceptible to glare from light reflecting off shiny surfaces, glass, or flooring. It might deal with hearing deterioration that masks normal sounds or makes it difficult for them to hear doorbells or warning alerts from appliances or other devices. Their balance might be a concern to the point that falling has become something that they worry about and contend with as they move about their home.
Some people are struggling with their homes in an attempt to gain an advantage and remain safe. As aging in place specialists, we know that we can help people change from just-getting-by in their homes to living much more comfortably and functionally in their homes with improvements that we can design and implement for them to make their lives better. Those homes can now serve their occupants rather than having the owners try to conform to the physical constraints of those dwellings.
We want people to age well in their homes and to get along with their homes rather than just living there or feeling that it is a struggle to live in their home even though they like the basic layout and location of their home. We certainly don’t want people to feel like they are strangers in their own home or that they are no longer welcome to live there. People should be having a love-love relationship with their homes where the owners love their homes to the point of wanting to live there the rest of their lives while at the same time their homes are loving them back by making it easy and enjoyable for them to live there.
To enhance the relationship between the occupants and their homes, we want to make sure that the typical issues that can strain a relationship are resolved. We start with the assessment and note the things that can be improved that are going to help the owners love their homes even more and allow their homes to be more responsive to what they need, want, and expect from living in them.
We can’t know what challenges their homes are presenting and how people are relating to their homes without asking questions, doing a visual assessment, and listening to what our clients are telling us about challenges they are facing, what they would like to be able to do in their homes that they find difficulty in doing, what spaces need to be enlarged or enhanced, and items (such as cabinets) that need to be lowered (upper wall cabinets), adjusted, or reconfigured (by using more pull-outs, drawers, and bins, for instance).
Some of our clients are going to need a minimal amount of work to improve their daily lives in terms of greater safety, more comfort and enjoyment, better convenience, and additional access to fixtures, controls, storage, and appliances in their homes. This may not take a large expenditure or much time to accomplish for them. Conversely, others are going to require a more major renovation to the parts of the home they use the most – entries, hallways, doorways, baths, kitchens, and bedrooms. Some are going to have the funds to make this happen, but we are going to need to be more creative in serving others in coming up with less expensive solutions or finding funding sources for them.
Nevertheless, helping people stay at home is a fantastic service we provide.