alexa Abstract | The Use and Appraisal of Home Modifications by Older Adults

Journal of Ergonomics
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Background: Good habits and appropriate ergonomic design, including personalized home modifications, contribute to human safety and function. However, professionals face challenges to convince people to change their environment and habits and to measure the outcomes of interventions.

Purposes of the study: a) to assess use of and satisfaction with home modifications by older adult users; b) to examine outcomes that explain the older adults’ appraisal of their home modifications.

Methods: One year after the conclusion of a home modifications program, an occupational therapist assessed older adults (N=47; aged 62-89 years) by means of questionnaires (FES; UCHM; UIMH) and observational assessments (MMSE; SAFER HOME; Kettle Test).

Results: The installed home modifications were widely used and user satisfaction was moderate. The study found no correlation between the number of falls in the home and whether the participant considered that the modified home suits his or her needs. However, the greater the participants’ fear of falling was, the greater the perceived contribution of home modifications to their safe functioning. Two regression models showed that more than a third of the variance in the perceived contribution of home modifications was explained by a cognitive test, certain aspects of mobility, and by a positive answer to a general query as to whether the modified home was suitable.

People who are aware of a decline in their functioning (e.g., cognitive functioning or mobility) are more willing to change their habits and use home modifications. Incorporating assessments of the cognitive, emotional, and mobility domains and discussing their implications with clients and with their significant others can improve the use of home modifications by older adults and their satisfaction with them.

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Author(s): Naomi Schreuer


Home adaptations, Assistive devices, Fear of falling, Usability of home, Safety, Ergonomics

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