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Rehab Insights is a blog written by Burke Rehabilitation professionals to offer practical information for patients, families and the community. Its goal is to educate the reader on relevant topics in rehabilitation, general health and wellness.

How to Stay in Your Home as You Age

December 15, 2015

Picture this: You’ve lived in your home for 30, 40, maybe even 50 years—and you want to stay put. But there are some aspects of the house, like certain trip hazards or lots of stairs, which can make it difficult to do so.

Ensuring safety while allowing seniors to maintain a level of independence is important, especially as the country’s population ages. Sometimes, just making some small changes can help keep you or our loved ones safe. Fall prevention can be as simple as removing clutter or adding some additional lighting to a staircase.

To help, Burke’s outpatient occupational therapy department offers a Home Safety Assessment program. Occupational therapists are trained to recognize how individuals interact with their environment and how that can have an affect on their ability to perform their daily activities. An occupational therapist can evaluates balance, coordination, endurance, safety awareness, strength, attention, problem solving, vision, communication, and many other functions while you perform daily tasks.

In addition to the individual’s performance abilities, occupational therapists also evaluate the home environment to identify barriers to performance.

As part of Burke’s fee for service Home Safety Assessment, an occupational therapist will visit your home and analyze how you interact with your environment to complete a task or activity. Through this process, modifications and interventions are recommended with a goal of maximizing safety and independence in the home. Recommendations can be as simple as installing a grab bar or if warranted, providing information on more structural changes.  

Burke’s Home Safety Assessment includes:

  • In home evaluation and report with resources by an Occupational Therapist
  • Checking safety and accessibility in all aspects of your home
  • Recommendations for easier living
  • Formulating emergency care plans for you and family members

Normal age-related changes are a part of growing older. Changes in vision, cognition, balance and strength can contribute to an increased risk for falls. According to the center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five falls result in serious injury. When we think of growing old, most of us would like to remain in our home. The Burke Home Assessment can be a tool to help you or your loved one remain safe in your home for years to come.

For more info on the program, click here.

For additional resources, check out these links:

—Andrea Sullivan, OT/L, Supervisor, Outpatient Occupational Therapy

photo credit: vintage naive painted wooden houses via photopin (license)

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Burke's Rehab Insights blog is intended to provide general information about rehabilitation and other health care topics. It should not take the place of medical care. Burke staff cannot comment on individual medical cases or give medical advice.

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