On a home visit, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist will work with the resident to identify daily routines and activities and the challenges that impact performing them. The specialist will suggest and demonstrate new behavioural techniques that can make essential activities easier and safer. Practised changes in routine will help the resident develop new habits and patterns of thinking and behaving that support ageing in place.
This is a philosophy that was instilled in me through my time as an Aging In Place Specialist, as well as being a personal experience of what I had gotten myself into with some of the physical modifications made to my first house
The trouble with home modifications, especially the ones intended to make things easier for an ageing homeowner, is that we assume that when a person becomes older (let's say over 60), they'll want all of the help they can get. And this is true – but only to a point. For example, we'll say that Mary will need a grab bar in the bathroom because we believe she might fall if she doesn't have one. But what if she likes to take her independent pride with a side of stubbornness? What about those people who like to do things for themselves, even when it becomes hard? And what about those others who feel uncomfortable putting their own hands on a bar? These are the sort of people I'm focusing on in this article.
Certainly, some seniors and those with disabilities will need help from physical modifications to their homes that others might not be as dependent upon. However, this isn't always the case. A person may have 10 years left to live or they might not ever be able to leave their home again. Their current and future needs are different from those we think they have.
How do you determine what someone will need in the future? It's a tough question to answer because there really isn't an easy way of knowing how any person is going to age. But there are ways of identifying needs – such as through a structured Aging In Place Assessment.