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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Modifying Homes for Aging in Place: Helpful Tools and Partners

Source: White House Conference on Aging, by Nora Super

Last week, I attended a learning exchange on aging in place sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International and AARP Foundation. The demographic shift toward a larger older population and recognition that most older individuals prefer to stay in their homes and communities as they age has led the venerable Habitat for Humanity to re-examine its practice of building new homes. Homes left empty due to foreclosure and homes occupied by elderly residents often need significant repairs and updates to make them more accessible and safe. AARP Foundation has sponsored several of these learning exchanges across the country to bring together Habitat affiliates and experts in aging in place to discuss ways to advance common goals. It’s these kind of community-based solutions that continually inspire me as we work on ways to improve the lives of older Americans and their families.

Home modifications can make our homes more livable, safe, and comfortable for those of all ages and abilities. As part of the White House Conference on Aging, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a 2-page guide detailing some simple modifications, which are relatively, low-cost, do-it-yourself changes, as well as more complex modifications, which may require professional or skilled volunteer assistance. Home Depot also released a tip sheet and “how to” video highlighting simple home modifications to help individuals age in place. These home modifications can benefit individuals in many ways including:

  • Preventing falls and injuries
  • Helping you more easily move around and use your home
  • Increasing your home’s value
  • Increasing feelings of confidence for family caregivers
  • Making your home more accessible for visitors who have difficulty walking or a disability

Kudos to these wonderful partners for exploring and acting on how they can help individuals age in place. Let’s all do our part by making some modifications that can help to safeguard the health and well-being of older individuals and people with disabilities.

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