making your house your home

There was so much great information about home modifications at our last meeting, it’s going to take me awhile to post & link all the ideas shared. So while I’m getting those ready, I thought I’d write a little bit about why you might want to do home modifications.

The presentation we were given by Accessible Systems (click here for their website) reminded me that — with all of us — it’s not “if”, it’s “when”. We are all going to need assistive devices at some point in our lives. Whether sick or aging, our bodies will fail. Accepting that fact (and embracing it) can save time, money, and your health. “A stitch in time saves nine” kind of thinking, or as my scouting father might say “Be Prepared”.

The decision to stay in your home or move to a care facility (senior living, assisted living, nursing care) is complex and personal. There are so many variables it is impossible to compare one situation to another, but hopefully these questions will get you thinking about “progression planning” – when “might need” changes to “need”.

  1. Can you make modifications to your living space? If you are renting you may not have the authority to change floor plans or add features – although a landlord MAY agree and even help with the cost of improvements to the property to accommodate you and future tenants. Don’t assume, ask!
  2. Do you have the financial resources to make modifications to your home? Is that something you could budget for to pay off incrementally as needs increase? What are your budget limits for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc.
  3. Are there support systems (family, friends, neighbors) surrounding you that make modifying your home appealing? The goal is to be safe, but don’t underestimate your emotional attachments to a place or community.
  4. Care levels can change quickly (especially after accidents), would installing home modifications ease your mind and lift stress off your caregivers?
  5. What is the cost vs. value of home modifications? Cost is the price of an item, value is the benefit you receive from it. How would your life improve by adapting your environment? Is it worth it?


A list of common barriers in any home are; bathrooms, levels, bedroom, lighting, clutter, entrance/exit, floors/rugs, doorways, kitchens, and pets. Accessible Systems specializes in three major areas of home modification to address those barriers:

  1. Home Modification Solutions: Universal Design (adapting a space to accommodate all levels of function and lifestyle) including barrier-free baths, door widening, ramps, home elevators, etc.
  2. Mobility Solutions: scooters, wheelchairs, and lift systems (stair or ceiling)
  3. Safety Solutions: railings, grab bars, etc.

We will visit all those topics in upcoming posts, including some funding options to make it all happen!

In the meantime we encourage you to talk with your support groups (family, friends, doctors, PT/OT, etc) about future living plans. Have those discussions sooner rather than later. Remember it’s not “if”, it’s “when”.


3 thoughts on “making your house your home

    • Thanks, John. It is such an important topic we don’t want to rush through it. I believe where and how you live is a huge part of your identity, and Amy Dee’s talk was so inspiring to honor that! On another note, how are things going in Pittsburgh? Sending thoughts for a quick and easy sale! (and a hello to Sheila, too) 🙂

      • Hi Nicole. Our drive to Pittsburgh was long, but we made it safely. We did have some minor car problems, but we were able to get it fixed quickly. Now comes the fun part of trying to sell our house. Thanks for your wishes of a quick and easy sale. Best regards, John

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