Your senior wishes to live at home as long as possible but the home where they live may not be well suited to the needs of an older adult.
There are modifications that can be done to make their home as safe as possible for aging in place safely and comfortably.
Home modifications can be very expensive so our senior loved ones may put off upgrading their homes until it is too late.
There is a bill in Congress trying to get some attention to help caregivers and seniors afford home improvements that will help them stay home longer. It’s called The Senior Accessible Housing Act, HR 5254.
This bill would work to update the Internal Revenue Code to give credits to seniors who improve their homes to allow for independence and safety as they age in place.
It would try to incentivize seniors to improve their homes and stay out of care facilities as long as possible by providing a $30,000 credit over their lifetime.
It would include a list of possible home improvements, such as non-slip flooring and wider doorways.
What Family Caregivers Can Do
There are five specific areas in the home that have been found by universal design experts to make a great impact on the accessibility of aging in place homes.
Seniors who accomplish these upgrades are said to be able to remain at home more safely.
Family caregivers can help senior loved ones get these tasks accomplished:
- no-step entries, especially at front door
- single-floor living, with bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, and utilities all on one floor, with no steps to navigate
- switches and outlets accessible at any height, which means many will need to be lowered for the possibility of wheelchair accessibility
- extra-wide hallways and doors to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs
- lever-style door and faucet handles
Some of these can be done by family caregivers or local handy persons, but others may need professional home improvement specialists.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that only 57% of existing homes have more than one of those features, so it looks like many seniors may need help to live independently in the future.
You can advocate for The Accessible Housing Act’s passage by contacting your Members of Congress today and voicing your support!
There are many small and big things that caregivers can do to make the home environment safe for independent living.
Here are a few other resources that you might find helpful as you improve their home.