Friday, April 22, 2016

"Safety Remains The Number One Reason For Doing AIP Home Modifications"

People remodel their homes on their own for a number of reasons, such as improving the appearance or making things easier to use in their home. When people contact us to help them with their projects, however, enhancing their personal safety in the home beomes the main focus - especially when it involves aging-in-place issues. This is true regardless of where in the home the renovations are needed.

There might be a specific need, or it might be a general update to the living space, but home modification typically involve enahncing the client's safety in some respect.

There are many ways this can occur and many areas of the home that might be the subject of an update.

People often will continue living in their homes without addressing safety issues until an event happens that really draws attention to one or more unsafe - and thus unhealthy - conditions in their home. Then what was something that essentially was ignored or accepted for a period of time becomes something that requires action.

They tolerate or cope with loose flooring, poor lighting, hard to use door or cabinet hardware, faucets that are difficult or uncooperative to operate, bathroom fixtures that are located in a convenient way, too few or poorly placed electrical outlets, inadequate storage, and other aspects of their home that easily remedied but not acted upon until it becomes clear that their safety is at risk without making those changes. Sometimes a close call is what it takes to accent the need for changes.

It might be something that happens - or nearly happens to one of the family members, or it could be noticeable when a visiting relative is staying with them.

There's an old adage that one cannot put a price tag on health or personal safety. That's what motivates people to act. When they realize that continuing to ignore unsafe living conditions in their home - from general clutter from lack of places to put items away, to items that no longer function as they were intended, to broken features, to obsolete parts of the home - is putting themselves or visitors in jeopardy, they will act.

It could be a change in someone's mobility, an injury, or some other acute change in their health or physical ability draws attention to modifications that need to made in their home. Likely these changes have been necessary for a long time, but now they become more urgent and significant. Had we seen them prior to now, we would have noted them as requiring attention. However, the occupants of the home never deemed them a priority - until now.

Even when changes in the layout, features, or other parts of the home are being undertaken or contemplated - not necessarily for safety reasons but for other expressed needs - enhancing their safety at the same time becomes a focus of the design and execution of possible solutions.

Safety continues to be the main reason for undertaking and completing home modification projects - especially when aging-in-place issues are involved. It's hard for people to consider the possibilities of remaining independent and enjoying a comfortable quality of life - regardless of any physical needs or limitations they might have - without them having a safe environment in which to live.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.