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Aging in place is an approach to the palliative care whereby the old people are allowed to stay in the familiar home environment as opposed to being admitted in elderly homes for the assisted care. Most of the older citizens own their homes. The homes are often designed to accommodate the young life and the young families. Therefore, there are rarely instances when the homes are designed with the consideration of the aging dwellers. This is the case in houses designed according to the old conventional designs or the neo designs.
In order to make the homes suitable for the aging dwellers, there is need for home modifications. The modifications are meant to increase the self-reliance of the dwellers by easing their movement, safety by reducing the hazards and security by ensuring that the homes are free from invasion since the old people are easier targets for burglaries and home invasions (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.). This paper will evaluate the role of home modifications as a means of enhancing aging in place.
Home modification adapts the living spaces such that the occupants re capable of living safely, working in a better manner without or with minimal assistance irrespective of their physical limitations (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.). The changes in the homes can be as simple as the addition of grip bars or the extensive removal of the movement constraints such as stairwells and replacing them with the palliative friendly rumps.
The old people are in particular need of the home modifications. The majority of the senior citizens live in the homes that we constructed long ago with the main aim being the accessibility to all (Callahan, 1993). The homes may have been developed such that the stairs and the doorways were narrow. This design consideration may have worked when the owner was younger. However it might not work now that he or she is older and in need of assisted movement. What was normal when the homeowner was younger may be a hazard to him now that he is older.
Some of the designs may prove to be problematic in that the majority of the elderly homeowners may be forced to leave their home since it is no longer possible for them to live an unencumbered life. The problematic designs could make normal tasks such as the food preparation, showering or movement from one point of the house to the other highly problematic.
When home modifications are planned and executed in the keen manner, there is chance of the old dwellers moving freely within the house and conducting their activities without much need of assistance (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.). Home modifications most part of the extreme make overs of the entire house since the designers have to focus on the creation of the best environment with the least hazards. All mistakes are proofed in order to reduce the exposure of the senior citizens to risks such as falling or tedious movements. It may even call for the relocation of some quarter such as the bedrooms to the more accessible ground floor.
Home modification can only be successful if it entails the interactions of the elderly people with the members of the design team (Pastalan, 1999). The main ideal of the interactions is the development of the perspective of the future dweller of the modified quarters. It is unfortunate if the elderly dweller of the modified home does not agree with the installed modifications for one reason or the other. Therefore, the elderly person ought to be included in the entire process of modification since all changes in the house center on his or her living. The modifications ought to be effective in the development of the ageing in place perspective as opposed to the assisted living approach (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.).
Home modifications have to focus on the room to roam assessment whereby all the aspects of the room are assessed in order to create insight on the issues such as the safety of the rooms, accessibility and adaptability of all the installations to the future complications that the home owner may develop (Pastalan, 1999). Safety assessment focuses on issues of whether there are any installations or objects that are a risk or a hazard to the home dweller.
If there is any instrument that could be a source of risk, it is important to remove the hazard and replace it with something that would be more accommodative to the dweller. Some of the common sources of hazards include the overly smooth floors such that there is a risk of falling, rugs that increase the risk of falling or poor furniture arrangement that can lead to falls for the old citizen (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.).
Adaptability of the room refers to the ability of the old member to reach the needs that he or she has with ease as opposed to the traditional designs that are organized according to the market heuristic. Some aspects of the entire house need to be adapted in a better manner for them to increase the ease and comfort of the home dwellers. Some of the adaptability could be conducted in the areas of the house that are used more often such as the kitchen and the bathrooms (Benefield & Holtzclaw, n.d.). The kitchen cabinets may have to be reduced to a lower level such that they are accessible. The actual level to be used could be configured to the needs of the old person hence the importance of the involvement of the senior citizen in the entire design process (Callahan, 1993).
Home improvement can be conducted in the house or even in the external environment. There could be a need to improve on accessibility to the house from the outside by increasing the level of access to the house (Pastalan, 1999). Some of the improvement on the external environment includes the increment of the level of lighting or the clearing of the shrubs that may pose a hazard to the old people.
Benefield, L., & Holtzclaw, B. Facilitating aging in place.
Callahan, J. (1993). Aging in place. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood Pub. Co.
Pastalan, L. (1999). Making aging in place work. New York: Haworth Press.
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