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Home modifications for aging in place

During the course of a lifetime, an individual's health situation might change with the years. As needs change, the features required for a safe, suitable home might change as well. Whether the changes are temporary or permanent, gradual or sudden, these changes in ability might not need to prevent people from living life to its full potential.

A free Extension educational program Wednesday will explore Simple Home Modifications for Aging in Place. The program will be during the noon hour at the Ellis County Extension office meeting room, 601 Main, Hays. A minimum attendance is needed, so pre-registration is requested by Monday at (785) 628-9430.

The guest speaker is Kathy Lupfer-Nielsen, Post Rock Extension District agent, who will present a kit of samples and resources for aging in place from K-State Research and Extension. The information will be useful for seniors and also for family members who provide assistance to aging relatives.

As situations change, some people will experience home environments that no longer help but rather hinder daily activities. Simple home modifications can include adaptations or equipment that make it easier and safer to manage activities of daily living comfortably and independently.

There are many benefits to modifying homes in order to age in place. To some, the benefit would be cost savings compared to other living situations. To others, it would be improved safety by reducing the risk of a fall or injury. Increased independence also could be a benefit. Simple modifications that allow people to stay in familiar surroundings with family and friends nearby also allow them to maintain a sense of dignity and satisfaction as they age.

Whether a home requires simple, short-term modifications or more complex, long-lasting changes, alterations can allow individuals to remain in their home longer, saving them money, making their living environment safer and giving them more independence.

To learn more about simple home modifications for aging in place, plan to attend the Wednesday program provided by the Ellis County Extension office. Bring a lunch to enjoy during the program if desired. RSVP to the Extension office by Monday or email el@listserv.ksu.edu to ensure adequate supplies and materials.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences.

lbeech@ksu.edu