Smart Home Modifications to Enhance Safety, Independence and Comfort for Seniors in McLean

Let’s face; most modern homes aren’t designed especially for a senior adult living in McLean. There are many lurking risks and hazards in your home that can hinder the safety, comfort, and independence of your loved older adult. That’s why trips and falls are the leading reasons why older adults lose mobility and independence.

Get this:

  • An American senior is taken to ER every 11 seconds because of a fall
  • 1 in 4 senior adults (65+) in the US trips or falls every year
  • Even worse, an older adult succumbs to fall injuries in America every 19 minutes

Against these eye-opening statistics, it’s crucial to carry out some home modifications to reduce fall risk and make your home a great fit for your older loved one. Good thing, AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has prepared a super handy home modification guide for seniors.

In this article, we are going to walk you through important highlights of the AARP’s HomeFit Guide.

What’s the HomeFit Guide?

It’s what it sounds like – a comprehensive guide of home modifications you can make to “proof” your home for senior adults. The primary goal of the guide is to ensure that all homes in the US are suitable for everyone, no matter their physical ability and age. It covers just about any modification you can execute on home to boost safety, comfort and independence for seniors, from task lighting and shower head adjustment to door levers and drawer pulls.

If you aren’t already familiar with the organization, AARP is an interest group based in the US with close to 40 million members worldwide. Its core mission is to support and empower those who opt to live their lives after retirement.

Highlights of HomeFit Guide by AARP

We’ll touch on a few pages/sections that you need to pay particular attention to when thinking of home modifications for seniors.

The Room-by-Room HomeFit Tour (Pg. 4)

This all-around tour takes you through every room in a senior-friendly home, from room to room as well as the outside. This way, you can see each modification that is required and what every room will look like once modified. In fact, the tour explains what you’d find in such a fit home that’s designed to be accessible to all, especially seniors.

Home Fitness for Specific Needs (Pg. 12)

This section thoroughly covers home modifications that’ll make your house livable and user-friendly regardless of age. You can expect clear examples of things like great lighting for aging seniors eyes as well as how to make everything easy to reach for them.

Use This, Not That (Pg. 14)

This section comes with a visually-rich shopping guide that makes it easy to find and shop for hardware, fixtures, and other items you need to bolster the safety of your house. It also explains briefly why these items are superior over conventional ones.

Your HomeFit “To Do” Lists (Pg. 16)

This is a simple and easy to understand yet comprehensive checklist of all home modifications. It places them into two categories: (1) those that call for hiring a contractor/handyman, and (2) modifications you can do yourself (DIY). Furthermore, it provides you with nifty tips for hiring the right handyman/contractor for the job.

Resources (Pg. 22)

This section presents three useful online resources for you: NAHB.org, AARP.org/livable, and AOTA.org.

Of course, that isn’t all there’s to HomeFit guide. It also includes a set of quizzes to help your senior’s house, as well as money savings on cooling/heating bills, info about certified aging-in-place experts and occupational therapists, just to name a few.


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Caregiver Tips for Protecting Older Adults against Financial Scams and Fraud

Today, more than 70 percent of the wealth in the US is in the hands of senior adults aged 50 and above. Unfortunately, elder financial abuse (read: fraud and scams) has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, according to a glaring report by Bloomberg, American seniors lose an average of a whopping $37 billion annually to an array of fraud schemes and scams, including online scammers, telephone pitchers, “gold diggers”, and even ill-mannered family members.

Take Marjorie Jones, an 82-year-old Texan, for instance. She ended up committing suicide after “sweepstake” fraudsters conned her of every penny she had. Stories like that of Marjorie Jones are all too common, and will likely to become more rampant in today’s increasingly digital world.

As a caregiver in Alexandria, you’re at a vantage position to protect seniors from financial fraud and scams. Here are six tips that might come in handy.

#1. Make Sure to Check their Credit History Yearly

This is especially important for family caregivers who are usually busy and can’t keep track of their older loved one’s daily spending and financials. Ensure to get your hands on a copy of your senior adult’s credit report once a year. The good thing is that the 3 major credit reporting bureaus – namely Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – allow you to get a copy for free once every year. Once you have the copy, sit down and go through the report together to fish out any discrepancies and signs of financial fraud.

If there seems to be an error in the report, rectify it immediately and report any fraud to relevant authorities.

#2. Be There Always

Stay connected and get involved in your older adult’s life. This will help you stay on top of their financials and potentially protect your older loved one from the risks linked to loneliness and isolation, most notably gambling, scams, and fraud.

#3. Invest in a Shredder

It might sound trivial, but a shredder can make a huge difference. You senior will be able to shred all unwanted financial statements, receipts, credit card offers, and other things that make them susceptible to fraud.

#4. Stay in the Know of your Senior’s Acquaintances, Romance, and Friendships

New friends and romantic partners can help keep stress, loneliness, and isolation at bay from your older adult’s life. However, they can also be an avenue for scammers and fraudsters. Beware of new friends or romantic partners who seem to be more interested in the senior’s finances than developing a healthy relationship.

#5. Be on the Lookout for Any Sign of Financial Fraud

It can be hard to tell, but there are many signs that can help you zero in on elder financial abuse early. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal of huge amounts by an otherwise frugal adult person
  • Sudden frequent visits to ATM
  • Sudden inability to pay bills
  • Sudden increase in collection calls

The list goes on and on. It’s best to trust your instinct.

#6. Educate your Older Loved about Social Media and Online Fraud

Online scams targeted at seniors is on an uptick. That’s why you need to teach your loved one about social media and online frauds that they might fall prey to. Intimate them with key red flags like fake friends, overseas wire transfer, Western Union transfers, etc.

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How to Avoid Legal Issues When Hiring a Senior Caregiver

Senior caregivers can either be hired as employees or independent contractors. The IRS is clamping down on improperly classified domestic workers. Therefore, you must have a clear understanding of the tax implications associated with hiring a senior caregiver as an employee or an independent contractor.

Hiring as an Independent Contractor

A senior caregiver is classified as an independent contractor only if:

  • You can prove that the caregiver performs services that you have no control over
  • The caregiver is a part of an independent business enterprise, such as a homecare agency, and has his or her own insurance
  • The caregiver is providing services not required for the daily functioning of the household

If your senior caregiver doesn’t meet these criteria, he or she is an employee. You would be the caregiver’s employer and, therefore, be responsible for filing certain taxes.

Hiring as an Employee

Senior caregivers who are privately hired to take care of the daily needs of a geriatric patient are employees. These caregivers are also classified as employees when you pay them more than $2100 in a calendar year. You would be responsible for the caregiver’s employment taxes, record keeping, and insurance.

Other Factors to Consider

Hiring one of the nice ladies from your church or community group to take care of your loved one may seem like a good idea. However, the taxes to be filed can create a huge headache if not done correctly. The IRS won’t hold back on penalizing you. Some other important considerations include:

  • The expertise of this caregiver. Trained geriatric caregivers possess certain skills that the average person doesn’t. You risk having your loved one receive inadequate care if you don’t hire the right person.
  • Improper supervision and management. Who is going to consistently monitor what this person is doing with your loved one? You don’t have the time to supervise.
  • Liability if anything happens to the person on the job. You will either must get specific insurance to cover this employee or pay the full medical costs if anything happens to this person on the job. The likelihood of something happening is great so this expense is inevitable.
  • Being at a loss if the person quits. An independent contractor can quit unexpectedly leaving you with no one to care for your loved one. A home care agency would be able to find a replacement from its pool of workers.

Hiring an independent caregiver to care for your oved one is risky. It’s best to hire a caregiver through a homecare agency. Own a Home care Agency can connect you with top homecare providers in your area. Give us a call and we’ll make the link.

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