Perhaps you have sustained a hip fracture from a recent fall and now need some changes made to your bathroom to maintain your independence with bathing safely.  Maybe you are recovering from pneumonia or heart surgery but are still limited in your endurance and need assistance to safely manage the stairs at home.  Perhaps your spouse is wheelchair bound and you or a caregiver need more help assisting your spouse to bathe or transfer to bed safely.  If you have recently been discharged home, you may have been given some good general ideas from the rehab staff at the hospital, nursing home or homecare agency about needed equipment or changes that should be made in order for you to continue performing tasks safely at home.
It is possible you have decided to spend your retirement years in your home but would like to make your surroundings more comfortable and accessible.  Perhaps now you are hoping to complete permanent modifications within your home that are both functional and beautiful which would allow you to stay in your own environment with the added security of doing things in a safer and more efficient way.
Making changes to address these needs is a specific process often referred to as “aging in place.”  It is important to emphasize that there is no “cookie-cutter” or single answer that solves each individual situation.  The answer or final creation of a home environment you love and enjoy and one that serves the purpose of assisting you or caregivers in performing daily tasks of living must be created just for you having taken your specific needs into consideration.
When you hire a company to assist with this project, ask about their credentials.  Several specific certifications exist that serve to strengthen a home modification specialist’s ability to appropriately assess your needs and current environment, understand what you want to change about this environment and then offer you a customized solution.  A general contractor or handyman service is not the same as an organization consisting of a synchronized team of accessibility consultants.
Look for a team with backgrounds in:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Designers and Contractors who have each individually participated in varying levels of home modification and accessibility training.

Specialization in the area of “aging in place” is a relatively new area of expertise; more people prefer to remain in their home environment through changes in medical status or physical ability.  A specialized accessibility organization has the capability to perform a formal assessment which would include direct communication with you about how your daily tasks are currently performed and how you would like things to change.  If necessary, you would receive a carefully drafted written evaluation which would include detailed suggestions that address your concerns and needs from a medical and rehab perspective.  This evaluation is designed to address your needs individually.  It includes careful consideration of health history, medical diagnoses and sensitivity to future planning.
The resultant design will ideally be both aesthetically pleasing to you while serving a much improved functional purpose as well.
This article was written by the accessible modification team at BILD – Bridgeway Independent Living Designs, LLC