“I don’t want to leave my home!” This is a common comment that I hear most often in my practice as a CAPS certified, occupational therapist. Who can blame them? I truly understand this desire. Home is where our lives happen. It is where we are most comfortable. It is where we surround ourselves with things and people that we love. Our home is what helps to give our lives meaning. Our home often times holds our most precious memories.

So what happens when our home starts to work against us? The stairs become hard to climb, the shower becomes difficult to get into, and the kitchen cabinets are to challenging to reach. Simple things that were once taken for granted have now become a daily struggle. Perhaps this challenge came about gradually because of arthritis or vision loss. Maybe it was something sudden such as stroke or an accident and now there is a walker or wheelchair in the home. This is where a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) can become an invaluable resource.

A certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) is able to look at your home and discover ways to make it work for you again. These professionals have received additional training from the National Home Builders Association in common remodeling projects needed to address accessibility issues within a home. A CAPS professional can be a remodeler/builder, interior designer or an occupational therapist to name a few. Each of these professionals bring unique contributions to the table as you look to problem solve how to make your home work for you again.

A CAPS remodeler/builder understands the building codes and mechanics of completing a renovation project. The builder/remodeler looks at the physical environment of where you live. A CAPS interior designer will help with space planning and choosing unique features such as lighting and colors to increase the ease of living. The interior designer will utilize universal design features when making recommendations as you redesign areas of your home.

A CAPS occupational therapist is able to look at your unique, individual needs. They are experts at looking at your physical abilities and listening to what are the most important priorities you want to be able to do in your home such as cooking, bathing, or gardening. The CAPS occupational therapist will take this information and make recommendations to restore function back into your home again. The solutions may include adaptive equipment recommendations as well as redesigning interior spaces.

Overall, no matter which kind of certified aging in place specialist you seek out the goal should always be how to make your home work for you again. After all home is where the heart is and where life happens!