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6/20/2022 | By Seniors Guide Staff

“There’s no place like home.” This statement reminds most of us of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. However, it can also be associated with the trials many have experienced during the two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

Emma Norris, home health occupational therapist with Therapy Advantage, Inc. who serves the Springfield and Dayton area, noticed a trend in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many more people were choosing to rehabilitate at home after a surgery or hospitalization rather than at a skilled nursing facility. This was likely due to a number of factors: strict visitation restrictions, being separated from loved ones, or fear of the virus itself. One trend Emma was sure about was that people desired to be in their own homes.

Because patients were being discharged home with less rehab, more patients needed increased assistance at home. Now more than ever, they wanted to do all they could to remain in their home environment. They wanted to age in place. More specifically, in their own place.

Employee of Therapy Advantage measuring a doorway in preparation for aging-in-place home modifications. During the pandemic, more people chose to rehabilitate at home after surgery or hospitalization. Therapy Advantage was there to help.

At home, people are able to engage in their normal activities, routines, and leisure pursuits with family and other loved ones. However, as people age, their demands and needs in the home also change.

As an occupational therapist, Emma has the skills to assess patients’ homes to identify barriers and provide recommendations on home modifications, needed durable medical equipment, and minimizing safety concerns to allow patients to function within the home environment.

But who can patients and families reach out to when a home needs significant structural modifications or remodeling to make it livable for the long term? A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) can help meet those needs. This highly specialized designation is awarded by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Employee of Therapy Advantage measuring a toilet's height in preparation for aging-in-place home modifications. During the pandemic, more people chose to rehabilitate at home after surgery or hospitalization. Therapy Advantage was there to help.

Emma recently achieved this goal, receiving her CAPS designation in March 2022. As a CAPS specialist, Emma is able to serve not only the aging generation but younger generations as well. Those affected by progressive medical conditions, vision deficits, or traumatic events that cause lifelong disability can also benefit from consultation with a CAPS expert to learn how to adapt, modify, and optimize their living spaces to allow maximal independence in their home environment. Emma can also make recommendations to personal living environments in assisted and independent living facilities to maximize client safety and independence.

According to the NAHB, “The CAPS designation provides therapists with the skills that aging homeowners need: the reassurance that they will get the assistance to make the right choices that will help them stay in their homes safely and securely. In addition, the CAPS designation helps make clients’ homes more ‘visitable.’ Even if the homeowners don’t think they need additional task lighting, grab bars, or other home modifications for their own use, their family members and visitors might.”

As a CAPS expert, Emma can assist in making needed home changes by collaborating with builders, contractors, architects, and interior designers to help give patients the homes that they want and need to fit their aging lifestyle. She is also able to be a resource to find funding options to assist with the financial means of changing the home setting. Changes can vary from minimally changing the style of light switch to large home remodels that allow for wheelchair access throughout the home.

The desire to age in place will continue to present a growing need for home modification recommendations. After all, we know that “there’s no place like home.”

Learn more at SeniorsGuide.com and at Therapy Advantage.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff