Living in their own home is the first choice for 85% of seniors, but safely doing so may require the guidance of a qualified clinician. Conducting a home assessment is the primary tool to help someone remain active and independent in their own home.
One of the most critical abilities necessary for independent living is being able to stand from a seated position. Clinical assessments of the home environment will usually include reviews of the following:
- The Person’s Condition and Capability
- Living Space Specific Transfer Activities
Condition and Capability
Three essential components of this evaluation provide an accurate picture of the person’s health and their individual needs:
- General: Do they understand, remember, and follow through on basic instructions?
- Physical: Determine the person's strength, range of motion in the joints of the person's legs and arms, as well as their balance when sitting or standing.
- Functional: Identity which daily activities can be performed independently or not.
The living environment plays a significant role in staying independent. Living space assessments include areas, in and outside the home, where the person is active every day. Simple changes that can be implemented immediately are the first level of recommendations. Examples include wearing proper footwear and eliminating trip hazards such as area rugs or other impediments to safe movement.
Specific Transfer Activities
When reviewing transfer activities, clinicians will have the person perform an action (getting in and out of bed, for example). The clinician will determine their capability and identify potential problems or issues that may need to be addressed.
How a person uses a piece of furniture will lead to recommendations based on the person’s condition and the furniture (softness, height, and availability of armrests).
Clinicians provide experience and knowledge about various conditions, disease progressions, and the available tools that help people stay in their homes. Home care safety starts with minor adaptations, including:
- Adjusting chair height with spacer blocks
- Removing slippery area rugs
- Using plywood platforms under seat cushions
- Adding a lifting seat chair or transfer pole in strategic spots.
For more advanced needs, the clinician may suggest short trials with more sophisticated devices to find the best solution. Their goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of seniors living at home.