According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), only one in six home owners has made home modifications that would allow them to be safe and comfortable in their home as they age. Occupational Therapists/Occupational Therapist Assistants (OT/OTAs) help people of all ages to increase their ability to engage in everyday activities (occupations). OT/OTAs help increase the quality of life for older adults and allow participation in valued occupations.

If you read the blog on “What We Know About Falls and Fall-Related Injuries” by Patrick VanBeveren, then you already know that falls are one of the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries in those over the age of 65 and the chances of falling increases as you age. Studies have shown that having a skilled Occupational Therapist and/or Physical Therapist assess your home environment to provide education and recommendations for home modifications as well as establishing exercise programs to promote strength and balance all play a critical role in reducing falls in the home. Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists complete a comprehensive in-home evaluation of the individual’s abilities, skills and safety, conduct a fall risk assessment, assess the home environment for any potential hazards and provide education and recommendations on any needed home modifications. The most common areas in homes that require modifications tend to be the bathrooms and stairways. Therapists are looking at the height of the toilet, presence/location of grab bars near the toilet, grab bars in the tub/shower and handrails in stairways. Most of the time the recommendations are fairly easy and inexpensive modifications that can make a big difference in making an individual much safer and independent in their homes and reduce the individuals fear of falling.

St. Camillus offers a multidisciplinary approach with services tailored to fit the needs of the individual including: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing Services, Respiratory Therapy, Nutritional Counseling, Social Services, Speech Therapy, Home Health Aide services, and more.

If you have had a recent medical change and qualify for home care services, ask your physician for a referral for St. Camillus Home Care or call the St. Camillus Home Care Agency at 315-488-2831.

Suzanne FinalAging in Place: Home Modification and the Aging Population was written by Suzanne Rake, MS OTR/L, Home Care Occupational Therapist for St. Camillus

References: Chase, C.A., Mann, K., Wasek S. & Arbesman, M. (2012). Systematic Review of the Effect of Home Modification and Fall Prevention Programs on Falls and the Performance of Community-Dwelling Older Adults. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 284-291. AOTA website