Thursday, July 12, 2007

It’s Independence Day! Get Going Again!

Since we opened Capabilities, Independence Day has new meaning for us. Of course, the Fourth of July always reminds us here in this country of our many freedoms. We appreciate the idea of freedom, mobility and independence even more now that we know so many folks who face physical challenges every day.

One of the services we offer is conducting home evaluations. We got a call just the other day from someone who wanted help determining whether her mother could safely stay at home. While that decision requires a multifaceted approach, we can help when it comes to analyzing just how safe (or not) the home is. It’s obvious that the condition of the individual, including diagnosis and prognosis, and other relevant medical information needs to be at the center of the decision-making process. Assuming some level of independence is indicated, you can then turn to someone like us to help assess what kinds of aids will provide comfort and safety.

“Aging in place,” as the phenomenon is now more commonly called, is on the radar screen. So is “universal home design.” Watch our Events for an exciting one in the Fall as we join forces with those in the building community to provide a seminar open to the public. We’ll keep you posted on details and as soon as we have the date we’ll get it on our Events listing.

Let’s consider some of the more obvious aspects of the home by listing some of the questions we help families answer.

Outside the Home:
  • Does access to the home require climbing steps?
  • Can the individual maneuver stair climbing?
  • If so, are there support rails?
  • Is the lighting sufficient?
  • Are there tripping hazards leading to the point of entry?
  • Is there a safety door?
  • If so, is there an easy-to-use opener to control closure while the individual is unlocking the main door?
  • Does the individual require an automatic door opener of some kind?
  • Does the individual require a remote system to turn on lights, open doors, ensure safe entry?

Inside the Home:
  • Are there thresholds?
  • Are the doorways wide enough to accommodate mobility equipment (e.g., wheelchair, walker, scooter, power wheelchair or other assistive device)?
  • Is lighting sufficient?
  • Are there tripping hazards (e.g., stacks and piles blocking easy access; pull cords on curtains or blinds)
  • Is the house multi-leveled?
  • If so, can the individual manage stair climbing safely?

We then look at each room in the house with a similar list of questions. The evaluation can take up to a couple of hours, depending on the circumstances. We ask that someone in a care giving capacity also be around to answer questions that the individual him/herself might not be able to ask.

We will revisit this topic frequently. Be sure to post your questions or email your questions. We will be sure to answer them in subsequent blogs. Also, check out my earlier blog on the subject, I'm Not Waiting Until My House Is My Enemy.

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