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Assessment Tool

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Assessment tool to evaluate senior independenceAre you an independent senior 65+ looking for an assessment tool to analyze your ability to perform activities of daily living and age in place?  Aging in place and aging gracefully may a feasible option if you are a senior 65+, even if you already face physical health challenges and limitations.  Staying at home can reduce stress and has the advantage of keeping you in a familiar place where you know your  neighbors and the community. It’s normal to feel confused, vulnerable, or even angry when  you realize you cannot perform activities of daily living and your physical health creates challenges for completing simple tasks.  By realizing this and keeping your  mind open to new ideas, you will not only deal with your  changing situation better but may also expand your level of independence and ability to remain self sufficient.

Using a carefully designed assessment tool, seniors can analyze their current level independence and identify the limitations and mental and physical challenges that need to be addressed.  Support needs may be very minimal at first.  Opening a jar, hearing the telephone ring, getting out of the tub, or other activities of daily living may be getting more difficult to perform without assistance.  A simple and inexpensive product, such as a rubber grip, a doorbell amplifier, or a handrail, may remedy the situation.  Over time, needs may increase.  But progressive home care products that help you with things such as physical health, cognitive impairment, instability, walking, standing, and balance are readily available.    A mechanical device can help open those jars, a strobe light that notifies you the doorbell is ringing, or a walk-in-tub may be your answer.  You may even benefit from use of available in home services.  The key is to use these assessment tools for re-evaluating your situation on a regular basis.  This will ensure you can age in place safely and comfortably.

Self sufficient seniors maintain physical health with good nutritionThe initial step is a general assessment of your ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL), physical assessment of vision, hearing and mobility, and a nutritional assessment which determines how well a healthy diet is kept.   Consideration should be made across all areas to determine your specific needs.

An age in place analysis tool applied against your home is used to determine how well overall design and layout meet your independent living needs and whether home modifications are needed.   International Association of Certified Home Inspectors home assessment checklist can be found at http://www.nachi.org/documents/aging-in-place-inspection-checklist.pdf.  At some point, the home assessment will likely identify some  upgrade(s) that would make life easier and safer.  Falls due to poor balance are the leading cause of injuries, that can even be deadly, among seniors.  Therefore, attention to fall prevention is crucial to staying self sufficient. Common features in the household, such as a lack of support in the shower or bathroom, inadequate railings on stairways, loose throw rugs, and crowded pathways, are all possible dangers that can lead to a fall.  But, there are simple and low-cost modifications you can incorporate to greatly decrease the risk of falling and minimize the potential for other injuries.

A checklist of personal needs is used to identify recommended products that apply to your unique situation.  As a senior, you may be experiencing limitations in reaching, bending, seeing, hearing, arm/hand strength, and/or balance.  If so, there are many products available that can help improve your quality of life.  Products are specifically designed so that you can live independently at home.

Self sufficient seniors use transportation services to help with mobilityOnce you have used assessment tools to evaluate your home and  living environment and products that would be of benefit to you, it is important to assess service options as well.  Home maintenance and transportation can introduce additional challenges to aging in place.  This checklist provides a list of services to help you accomplish activities above and beyond what products and home modifications can do.

With all of the available help and aids, seniors aging in place and keeping that American dream alive and well is often possible.

 

Assessing Your Level of Need

Quality of life while remaining self sufficient is reliant upon addressing balance, vision, hearing and mental impairment challengesEveryone’s situation is different. But there are some standard assessments a senior can make to determine your level of need now and over time. The ability to age in place and remain self sufficient is reliant upon your ability to perform certain activities, with or without aids. Assessing your level of need takes into account your mental and physical health and any conditions that limits your capability to remain independent, accessibility to support, living conditions, and other factors that impact your ability to remain self sufficient. More information for making the best senior living decision can be found at websites such as: http://www.helpguide.org/elder/senior_housing_residential_care_types.htm.

Assessing Your Level of Need to Perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL):

• Do housework, laundry, shopping, and cooking

• Maintain personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet

• Manage medical appointments and medications

•Handle personal finances and legal issues

Physical Health Considerations that Impact Your Level of Need:

Self sufficient seniors often use walking aids to improve balance and instabilityMobility: The ability to safely move around your home and neighborhood often becomes more difficult as you age. For a professional assessment, ask your doctor or get a referral to an occupational therapist. To make your own assessment, seniors can use a tool developed by the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Vision: Vision impairment is common as you age and often leads to reduced social interaction and quality of life, depression, and injuries from falls. Gradual vision loss may not be obvious so annual vision screening is recommended. Treatment for many age related vision problems, such as cataracts and refractive errors, is available and can substantially improve your quality of life.


Hearing: Hearing loss is common among older adults and can affect quality of life. Assistance technology, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, can be used to help basic hearing loss, while more serious conditions may require more extensive medical attention.

Level of Need for Nutritional Health:

• Are you eating the right kinds and amount of food to meet daily health requirements?

• Are you able to shop for the right foods and preparing them?

• Are you eating the food prepared or that was prepared for you?

   

Home Care Personal Aid Assessment Tool

Balance and instability can be addressed using home care products and home care aidsThe desire to live independently at home is the first step in making that dream become a reality. But doing so successfully and safely takes some planning. Limitations in your ability to bend, grasp, reach, or maintain balance may introduce risks to your safety. Each senior faces unique challenges. But personal aid and home care products for seniors are available to help with most of those challenges.

The below checklist, not to be considered all encompassing, can help you identify areas where personal aids and home care products for independent living at home would be of benefit.

Senior Difficulty Possible Home Care Remedy
Balance and Coordination Problems Seat in shower
Bath tub with transfer bench
Grab bars near the bath and toilet
Handrails extend beyond the top and bottom of the stairs
Phone in the bathroom
Walk-in shower with pull-down seat
Hearing Impairment Dishwasher is ultra-quiet to reduce background noise
Increased volume on phones
Smoke detectors have strobe lights
Amplify the doorbell to add to a person’s safety
Limited Reach Closet rods pull down to a comfortable level
Hand-held shower in bathroom
Kitchen and closets have pull-down shelving
Lazy Susan to reach things stored on deep shelves
Oven doors swing to the side
Limited Vision Stove controls are clearly marked and easy to see, Stove has big numbers that can be seen from across the room, and uses different colors to tell which parts are hot
Poor Hand and Arm Strength Automatic garage door opener
Cabinets and drawers have D-shape handles
Doors have lever handles
Garbage disposal to reduce trash
Heat-resistant counter near microwave oven
Push-button controls are on appliances
Rocker light switches
Sinks with lever faucet handles
Special hardware to make drawers slide easily
Spray hose to fill pots on the stove
Trash compactor to minimize trash bags
Purchase easy grip utensils
Trouble Bending Elevated toilet or toilet seat
Grabber
Trouble Walking and Climbing Stairs Floors are smooth and slip-resistant
Ramp to front door with handrails on both sides
Stairs have slip-resistant surface
Wheelchair, walker, and/or transport chair
Safety Interior door alarm
Auto outlet turnoff
Stove auto turnoff
Gas sensor near gas cooking, water heater and gas furnace
Faucet mixers with anti-scald valves
Temperature controlled shower and tub fixtures
Add motion detectors at the front and back of homes to light up walk areas and to help with safety of resident and ward off mischief
Automatic garage door opener
Electric Cigarettes (for smokers)

Now that you have an assessment tool to determine your level of need to remain self sufficient and age in place considering your home, ability to perform activities of daily living, and ability to maintain your physical health and nutritional health, you can apply a home design assessment tool and search for services for those aging in place.  You can also find the product or products you need at Mobility Devices and Balance Aids and Health Products and Medical Products to address the challenges and limitations you expect to face.

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