Helping Older Adults Modify Their Homes
to Meet Changing Mobility Needs​

For Immediate Release
December 2, 2019
Contact: Joellen Leavelle, jleavelle@n4a.org and 202.872.0888
 
WASHINGTON—Older adults who want to live at home as they age often find that their homes are not keeping up with their changing mobility needs. Changes that accompany the aging process can affect the ability of older adults to stand for long periods of time, climb the stairs, see in the dark and more—and all can be addressed by making home modifications. Fortunately, one call to the Eldercare Locator can connect older adults to local programs designed to support their changing needs and help them continue to age safely at home.
 
To increase awareness of local home modification programs, the Eldercare Locator, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and the U.S. Administration for Community Living have made home modifications the topic of the Eldercare Locator’s 2019 Home for the Holidays campaign. Working this year with the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, the annual campaign provides resources to help families discuss what can be difficult topics when they gather during the holidays.
 
“The majority of older adults want to continue living in their homes as the age, and the Aging Network offers many home-modification supports and services that help make that possible,” said Lance Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator for the U.S. Administration for Community Living. “The connections to those resources made by the Eldercare Locator are critical to helping older adults remain in the community and continue living in their homes.”
 
As sensory, mobility and cognitive needs change, older adults and their families often turn to local organizations for support in adapting their homes to meet their physical needs. Home modifications range from the simple, clearing clutter from the floor and improving lighting around the home, to the complex, such as installing ramps or making a bathroom wheelchair-accessible. Home modification is one of the top five reasons older adults and caregivers contact the Eldercare Locator.
 
“The home modification programs provided by Area Agencies on Aging and others help older adults continue to be active and engaged in their communities—in part because they live safely in their homes, which is where we know they want to be,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood. “By connecting older adults, their families and caregivers to local programs that understand how the mobility needs of older adults change with time—and how these changes affect the home environment—the Aging Network is able to support older adults as they live with independence and dignity in their homes.”
 
“The home—a personal space of identity, memories and security—is becoming the health care setting of the future as more people age in place. The condition of the home is critical to supporting independence and caregiving. Integrating home modification with other support services is key to effective home and community-based services," said Julie Overton, Senior Learning and Development Specialist with the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
 
Eldercare Locator
Launched in 1991, the Eldercare Locator is the only national information and referral resource to provide support to consumers across the spectrum of issues affecting older Americans. The Locator was established and is funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living and is administered by the National
Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).
 
The Eldercare Locator’s website, eldercare.acl.gov, contains helpful information that can help older adults and caregivers determine which home modifications they need. The Preventing Falls at Home brochure provides information on recommended steps, such as annual vision exams, that can be taken to reduce the incidence of falls in the home. The Caregiver Corner of the Eldercare Locator’s website contains a host of information on resources that can support caregivers as they help older adults stay safe in their homes.
 
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a 501c(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the more than 250 Title VI Native American aging programs. The mission of n4a is to build the capacity of its members so they can better help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. n4a.org
 
The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (FPCE), based at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, promotes aging in place and independent living for persons of all ages and abilities. It offers research, training, and technical assistance opportunities for professionals who wish to
respond to the increasing demand for home modification services and address fall prevention in the home environment. FPCE also serves as an information clearinghouse on home modification to equip professionals and consumers with a comprehensive inventory of resources such as a National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Resources. homemods.org

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