Many seniors are reluctant to leave their homes even when they know some things have become more difficult to manage. Many things can be done to make homes more user friendly for seniors; however, for some seniors, their needs are too great to remain there and outside senior living becomes a need.
I recently came across a great website that makes it a whole lot easier to figure out if an individual with needs can remain in their home. www.silverspacescom is a website that offers a home assessment tool you can use to figure out if all aspects of your home are safe and accessible. Furthermore, if there are areas that are not, it will provide suggestions as to how you might change those areas so that they are. There is a cost for the service but it is minimal and (in my opinion) well worth it. I spoke with one of the co-owners of the website, Jill Bjerke, and she showed me all the benefits it can offer. Pricing for the service is determined based on your usage need. Individuals caring for one senior can pay for a one-time assessment report while companies, corporations, and individuals who are caring for multiple seniors can pay a monthly fee for continuous access. Although there are many features that make this website standout, the most impressive feature is the extensive range of home-factors the system takes into account. The questions cover areas around the home such as access to public transportation (in case someone won't have car access) as well as being able to get to a mailbox or drug store. They truly have thought about everything in creating the tool. I also find myself impressed by the real-time support offered by the website. As you answer questions about your home, it includes photos and video links on how to best provide accurate information. For example if it asks you to measure the width or height of something it will have a video link right there that shows you exactly how to measure the space properly. It also provides photos in case someone is not sure what is being referred to. Different door handle types or various forms of lighting are just a couple examples. Instead of assuming someone knows what a lever door handle is they include a photo of it so you know what they mean. It is incredibly informative and extremely user-friendly. It also allows you to take photos of your house and save everything as you work so that you can make changes or updates as needed. Once you have completed the questions the assessment is turned into a report that has marks of red and green for each area explaining to you what areas look good and what areas may need some changes. It simply suggests possible changes you can make. It also explains, with photos, how certain home accommodations have evolved over the years. Much of the supports we can add into our homes have changed to become more sleek and less invasive. For example, when we think of a shower bar I am sure most of us think of a big wide bulky bar across the side of the tub. There are so many different types of shower bars now that are beautiful, not bulky and can be installed in a variety of ways you would never have considered. It really is incredibly informative and updated. The same is true for shower seating and toilets. I also noticed that the report is very relaxed in how the recommendations are given. It does not tell someone they "must" change something; it simply gives you some things to consider. There are also no sales links embedded within it meaning the site doesn’t have a vested interest in the responses it provides. This service is something that people should consider doing long before their senior may really need it as well as if things are progressing quickly. It provides you the opportunity to plan changes and accommodations over time as opposed to being faced with them all at once. As an extra added bonus, I should mention that this tool can also be used for people with disabilities or other physical limitations that may also need additional accommodations in their living environment. Not only was I impressed with the assessment and report that Silver Spaces provides but I found Jill to be a really caring person who truly wants to help seniors find ways to stay in their homes if they can. I encourage you to share with friends and family who may benefit.