Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently

Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently



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Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently by Dennis R. La Buda, Vicki Schmall

As baby boomers, many of us will face the difficult decisions associated with the caretaking of our aging loved ones. Often it seems as if there are no options to even make a decision. Our loved ones' safety comes first, and their homes gradually become difficult, if not impossible, to manage. Eventually we are forced to consider the alternatives.

What if a simple trip to your local home improvement center could make it possible for your aging parents or relatives to stay in the home they love? Sound too easy? It can be that easy, according to Dennis La Buda and Vicki Schmall, authors of Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently. Specially designed devices and modifications in their home can help your loved ones maintain their independence, with a minimum of risk.

We often wrestle with the staying at home option versus encouraging our loved ones to move to an assisted living facility as an all-or-nothing decision. Because we worry for their safety, and often feel responsible if an accident should occur, we encourage them to move where their needs will be taken care of in a safe environment. However, say La Buda and Schmall, living independently can become a more comfortable decision when we explore the modifications that can be made to a home to accommodate an aging person' s special physical needs.

Home Sweet Home , winner of a national award by Mature Media, travels step-by-step through a typical home, pointing out potentially dangerous areas for seniors. It gives simple explanations of how to "senior proof" these areas with tools and gadgets that can most often be purchased at your local hardware store. The book explores the five areas that most affect people's ability to care for themselves: basic self-care; meal preparation; communication and mobility; home maintenance and safety; and leisure and recreation. Samples of home modifications that can be made include:
  • Switching door knobs to levers, which are easier to manipulate when you have decreased dexterity
  • Installing grab bars in bathtubs or showers
  • Purchasing dressing aids such as zipper pulls and long-handed shoehorns
  • Using "reacher" sticks to retrieve lighter items, such as bags of cookies or chips, from shelves
  • Mount drawers under kitchen cabinets for easier access

In addition to physical needs, Home Sweet Home also provides guidance in addressing the emotional needs of our older loved ones with sensitivity. "Plan with, not for, the person!" advise the authors. "No adult likes to have decisions made for him or her. Remember that your family member has the right to make choices - to take risks - as long as his or her mental capacities are intact and others are not endangered."

LaBuda and Schmall conclude Home Sweet Home with a comprehensive resource guide of services, products and information to make living at home easier and less dangerous for your loved ones. From visiting nurse services to adult day centers and home-delivered meals, they direct the reader to the many resources available, and how to locate them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780970150929
Publisher: AAL QualityLife Resources
Publication date: 04/28/2001
Pages: 92
Product dimensions: 8.55(w) x 11.02(h) x 0.31(d)

Table of Contents

A Self-care Language Primer

Getting the Right Start
Deciding What to Do
Talking About Your Concerns
When a Family Member Refuses Help
When Your Relative is Memory-impaired

Taking Care of the Basics
The Bathroom
The Bedroom
Section IV
The Kitchen
Section V
Section VI
Taking Care: Safety at Home
Section VII
Leisure and Recreation
Section VIII
Resource Guide
Community Based Programs
Products and Catalogues
Local, State and Regional Governmental Assistance
Professional Resources
Electronic Assistive Technology Resources
Evaluation Tools for the Home
Other Housing Options for Older People

What People are Saying About This


It is comprehensive, clearly written, well-organized, and beautifully illustrated.

Sara J. Czaja

Grounded in ergonomics and provides a basic blueprint to help the designed environment accommodate older people.


This is the guidebook for the elders in your life today, and for yourself in the future!
— Patricia A. Moore, gerontologist and designer;

Jon Pynoos

Practical information about simple, attractive and inexpensive devices to make your living space more comfortable, easier and safer to use.

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