By Stephanie Sanchez
Making homes livable for people of all ages is the goal behind the AARP ‘HomeFit’ program. On Friday, March 1, AARP in Houston and Rebuilding Together Houston joined forces to help educate local residents on how to make their homes livable as they age.
The hands-on-event, designed to help everyone, also offered information to homeowners whose homes suffered damage during Hurricane Harvey. The idea was to teach people ways to remodel their homes throughout their construction process at a low-cost. More than one dozen people attended this informative event.
“This was a great learning experience. It gave me ideas on what accessories to install in my house to keep my home safe,” said AARP Houston volunteer, Jackie Abert who is over 50.
Abert is not alone. AARP data shows that nearly 90 percent of people over 50 want to stay in their homes as they age, which is often referred to as “Aging in Place.” AARP’s ‘HomeFit’ program helps people make their homes safe and livable to be in for as long as possible.
AARP Texas Advocacy and Outreach Associate State Director, Isabel Longoria, discussed the importance of making small changes to your home. She said the program focuses on adapting homes so that people can live comfortably and safe as their lives change.
“Livability is not just about- what I like to say- ‘old proofing’ your house: wrapping it in bubble wrap and making it boring. It’s really about asking yourself what do you think your future is going to look like as you age and what are the things you can start doing to your home now to make it better for you later,” said Longoria.
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Some of the affordable and easy changes Longoria and Rebuilding Together Houston presented included installing higher electrical outlets, placing secure handrails on stairs, having easy and reachable cabinet doors, and ramps for walkers or wheelchairs. The attendees also learned the proper way to use fire extinguishers and when to use them, and easy ways to install standard door handles that allow for a more comfortable grip.
“This program sprung from AARP to help people do just that: make small changes to the home for those who want to age in place which they have created a lot of memories in,” said Longoria.
To know more on how to make your home fit for the future, visit aarp.org/livable-communities. There you will find the AARP ‘HomeFit’ guide in English and Spanish. This guide will also allow you to look at your home with a critical eye for comfort and safety; as your lifestyle changes, your home can now follow too.
The AARP ‘HomeFit’ events occurs at least two to three times a year. If you did not make this event, but want to attend the next time monitor aarp.org/houston to see when we’ll host another ‘HomeFit’ event.
To learn more about what AARP in Houston is doing in your community and how you can also make a change by volunteering visit aarp.org/houston.
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