Ageing in place means that you have the support and services you need to remain living in your home or community as an older adult. Like many Canadians, this is a shared experience. By planning early in adulthood and preparing for the future, you can equip yourself with greater control over the quality of your life, independence and dignity. When planning, identify some of the risks that may affect your ability to safely and independently live at home and the steps you need to achieve to minimize or overcome those risks. For example, suppose you notice that you have reduced walking ability. In that case, you may want to consider installing grab rails in areas such as hallways or stairwells to support balance and stability when walking.
Another area to consider as an ageing adult is the community in which you reside. Do you have all of the supports and services you need to live independently as you age? Or perhaps you may need to consider moving to a different area with more available services.
Occupational therapists (OTs) play an essential role in home modification programs for ageing adults. An OT's role is to assess and understand the physical, social and environmental demands placed on an individual in the context of their home. By understanding the client and their home, OTs can help their clients live at home for as long as possible. Home assessments use various tools to determine which modifications are beneficial. Often, the entire process is collaborative between the client, their family, and OT to ensure the client's needs are met. An OT may need to reevaluate the home modifications later to ensure they continue to provide adequate support for the client.
Reference: Klein, S. I., Rosage, L., & Shaw, G. (2000). The role of occupational therapists in home modification programs at an area agency on aging. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 16(3-4), 19-37.