Aging well
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Aging well

Supporting Aging adults with Developmental Disabilities. Home Adaptations. This training was made possible by generous grants from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities . and from Spectrum .

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Aging well

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Aging well

Supporting Aging adults with Developmental Disabilities

Home Adaptations


This training was made possible by generous grants from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities and from Spectrum for Living’s Endowment Fund.


The information for this presentation was adapted from the manual, “A Home For Life: Home Modifications for Aging in Place with an Intellectual Disability.” By Richard V. Olsen, Ph.D and B. Lynn Hutchings, M.Arch.

Home Adaptations


Walkways and Entrances:well lit and free from shrubs or trees that obstruct accessTrim back or remove all shrubbery and grass that encroach on the sidewalks.

Getting into the home


Older people need more

light. They


have more difficulty adjusting from one light

level to another. Walking from a well-lit house

into the dark can be difficult and dangerous.


Mail boxes should be accessibleAll exterior spaces that people use at night should be well lit:drivewaysparking lotsgaragestrash areas.

General “outside” Considerations


Patios and pathways should be free of tripping hazards.Spaces between pavers can be tripping hazards.

General “outside” considerations


Good lighting: People should never have to walk through a darkened hallway to turn on a light. Night lights, particularly for hallways that lead from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Inside the home: Hallways & Doorways


Tripping hazards should be corrected or removed:unnecessary furniture, equipment or clutterspaces between carpet runnersrunners and mats in poor conditions or without anti-skid backingcarpets with raised or frayed edges

Inside the home: Hallways & Doorways


Carpets should be in good condition and firmly tacked down.No telephones on stair landings. People could trip and fall down the stairs in their haste to reach a ringing telephone

Inside the Home: Stairs


Sufficient number of light fixtures/lamps.The following are some furniture problems to correct or avoid:Furniture with hard, sharp edges.Chairs and sofas that are too low, too soft and/or are armlessToo many pieces of furniture (and throw rugs)

Inside the home: living, dining & family rooms…


CLUTTER: a serious concern. Places people at risk for tripping.Can obstruct emergency exits from the house/apartment in case of a fire.Can make it difficult for people with poor memory or intellectual disabilities to find things.It can increase tension and frustration levels in the home.

Inside the home: living, dining & family rooms


Broken or sticking draws must be repaired.Beds should be adjusted to suit the height of the older person.Bedside tables Furniture risersThere should be a bedside lamp within easy reach on the beside table. Easy to switch on/off. Invest in “tap on” lights.

Inside the home: Bedroom


De-clutter bedrooms as much as possible by:Building additional shelving unitsBetter organized (or larger) dressers/closetsStorage containersWheelchair accessibility issues:Arrange furniture along the perimeter of the bedroom to allow easier maneuvering for wheel chairs.

Inside the home: Bedroom


Windows: Ensure that older people are able to easily open/close the windows in their home and in their bedroom.Move furniture that is blocking windowsRepair windows to make sure that they are easy to lock/unlockRemove tripping hazards

Inside the home: Bedroom


The most dangerous zone of the aging adult’s home. Various reasons:Tight spacesHard surfacessharp edgesSlippery surfaces.

Inside the home: Bathroom


Some ideas for general renovations…Easily accessible hooks on doors/walls for hanging clothingEasy–to-reach and easy-to-locate shelving for toiletriesRemove clutter!

Inside the home: Bathroom


General Renovations, cont’dLighting Issues…Ensure that there is adequate lighting. Older people need more lightingMinimize the glare from lights by using matte (not glossy) finishes on floors and walls. Replace bare bulbs with globes and brightness diffusers to minimize glareLight switches should be easy to use. Rocker switches are recommended.

Inside the home: Bathroom


General renovations, cont’d:Use “double cueing” on faucets.Cover all pipes attached to a wheelchair- accessible sink.

Inside the home: Bathroom


Tub & Shower issues:Utilize a shower seat.Provide a shower caddy to hold toiletries within easy reach.Remove old shower doors to increase the amount of clear opening for climbing into the tub.

Inside the home: Bathroom


Toilets: Challenging because some older people have difficulty sitting down and standing up from the toilet due to the toilet being too low or too small.Installing a raised toilet seat can help

Inside the home: Bathroom


Install Lazy Susans in corner cabinets to make items easier to reach.Grabbers can help people reach light weight items that are higher up in cabinet or on a shelfAdequate lighting and switches at each entrance to the kitchen

Inside the home: Kitchen