MADISON (WKOW) -- As you spend time with family on Thanksgiving, you'll no doubt notice how your older members are doing physically. Those with physical issue or limited mobility may need some modifications in their homes, especially if they want to continue living there as long as possible. Falls are the leading cause of injury and even death for people 65 and older, but Angie's List can help with some helpful tips.
Katie Collins, 78, is a vibrant lady, but her arthritis can get the best of her. “It had become pretty tough to get in and out with the steps. I really didn’t want to leave my home.”
New handrails were a huge help, but she needed more. Her bathtub became tough to climb into, so it was replaced with a walk-in shower. Grab bars were also installed. “Now I’m able to go into the shower. I have two seats in my shower. I can sit down and wash up real good and get up and shower myself, wash my hair, whatever.”
Founder of Angie's List, Angie Hick says, “For many senior citizens, being in their own home as they age can be a real benefit. It can help their well-being, and it also it can be more cost efficient than other housing options, so updating their living space for them can be really important.”
John Ausbrooks is a disability professional. He says, “It’s real important that you look at it in a holistic way of all the things that could become barriers and meet that.”
Ausbrooks takes pride in providing products and services that allow older folks to lead an independent lifestyle. He says scooters, ramps and lift chairs can be life altering, and he remembers installing a stairway lift for one man who hadn’t seen his basement in years. “The guy came down the stairs and he just began to weep because memories came flooding back to him. So it was a very moving experience – still is, many years later – to see the guy experience the memories that he had probably thought he was never going to see again.”
Collins feels that same joy every time she showers or easily manages her steps. “I’m just happy, honey, because I never had anything like that before. And it’s so nice and convenient. I don’t have to worry about, like I said, falling anymore because everything is just convenient, and I’m grateful!”
When modifying a home for safety, Angie recommends working with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist who has specific training in home modifications for the elderly. If cost is an issue, she suggests contacting the local agency on aging, which may have programs to help.