Consumer Watch: How the home can be safer for senior citizens


by Andy Treinen

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 4:35 PM

(WHAS11) -- Millions of families are struggling with caring for parents who are no longer safe in their own homes. Did you know there are things you can do to those homes to make them safer?

There is actually a booming profession for certified aging-in-place specialists. They are experts in getting your home ready for a senior to live in.
Frank and Cora Einterz are among the aging seniors struggling to stay at home together. With Frank's failing health it's getting more and more difficult.

“Frank had a stroke November 17 and I knew that we would have to make some renovations to the house because there was no way he was going to be able to walk normally," explained Cora.
One of the first changes for many families is wheelchair accessibility. You can get a typical woodplank ramp into a home for $2,000-3,000. Often doorways need to be widened, slippery floor materials need to be removed and steps and curbs need to be eliminated.

Then there's the slick bathroom. Kent McCool says that's where most falls happen.

"We want to prevent those falls, so simple things like grab bars. You know, the entrances and exits to your home, um proper lighting. Slip rugs, getting rid of those tripping/fall hazards,” said McCool.
The Centers for Disease Control says falling is actually the leading cause of death from injury in adults over the age of 65. Americans are spending big bucks preventing those falls. According to a nationwide Angie's List poll, 18 percent of people who remodeled in 2011 did so with aging in place in mind. About 37 percent of respondents said they planned to remodel a more senior friendly design.
So what kind of cost are we talking about? Angie's List says a certified aging in place specialist and the modifications can range anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. But compared to the cost of full time nursing home care that could be a bargain.
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