Have you ever thought about preparing your home for the future? Often referred to as ‘age proofing’ your home, there is a lot to consider. We asked Physiotherapist and owner of the Upwell Health Collective Matt Stanlake for some information and suggestions.
Do you think ‘Ageing In Place’ is important?
Yes, people want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible with their families. They are in a familiar environment and feel safe & supported by their family and/or neighbours.
This is also the best option for our community as ageing in place significantly reduces the healthcare and aged care burden on our society.
It also has positive effects on the individual’s mental health.
Is there a particular time when people should start to think about things they could do to help them ‘age in place’?
Yes, this planning should take place when an individual starts to identify changes in their health, function, cognitive abilities or support systems (reduced support). There is no specific age that this should occur as everyone’s ageing process varies. It is always best to plan ahead, rather than being re-active once things start to rapidly decline. It is also important for individuals to be flexible as things change to ensure their supports are adapted as needed.
What sort of things can be done in the home to make life easier?
To ensure safety and longevity in the home there are many steps that can be taken:
- Home modifications such as ramps, rails, widening doorways, non-slip mats, removing trip hazards (rugs, cords, clutter)
- Aids & equipment such as electric lift recliner chairs, aids for the kitchen, shower chairs, mobility scooter and walking aids, and a host of cognitive assistance devices.
- Services such as home maintenance (gutter cleaning, fire alarms etc), home help (house cleaning), shopping assistance, showering assistance, in-home respite
- Modifying how you do things such as sitting down to prepare your meals, pacing, sitting in the shower,
What benefits does an Occupational Therapist provide for ‘Ageing In Place’?
Occupational Therapists (OT) assess an individual, their home / environment and the things that they need and want to do.
OT’s will then set goals and make recommendations to the individual and family (as seen above) to ensure the individual can stay at home safely.
An OT will then organise referrals for all the individual’s requirements and provide training to ensure safe use of aids and correct understanding of the home modifications.
For more information, Matt Stanlake and the team at Upwell Health can contacted at:
1-5, 436 Burke Road
Camberwell, 3124 . Telephone: +61 3 8849 9096
or visit their website here