Homes can be dangerous places and the scenes of many accidents by people of all ages, but for older people, gradual changes in physical and sensory functions can make ordinary homes especially hazardous and uncomfortable.
Fortunately, it is often possible to modify a home at relatively little expense to make it much safer and more convenient for people who are experiencing declines in vision, hearing and mobility because of age or illness.
That is the message being spread by ITT Hartford Insurance Group of Hartford, Conn., in an educational program featuring a booklet of 120 low-cost tips and a 28-minute videotape with tips, design ideas and background on problems of the aging. The booklet, "How to Modify a Home to Accommodate the Needs of an Older Adult," and the videotape, "For the Rest of Your Life," featuring actor Hal Linden, are both available free from ITT Hartford.
Another part of the program, the Hartford House, recently completed a nationwide tour with visits to about a dozen cities. The Hartford House, now in storage, is a four-room model home that incorporates many of the design ideas featured in the booklet and videotape.
"We felt that making the film would allow us to give the largest number of people an opportunity to learn how they can make their homes easier and safer to live in," said Michael S. Wilder, Hartford's senior vice president for corporate relations. "These design changes can help older people live in their homes longer."
According to surveys by the American Association of Retired Persons, about 75 percent of older Americans own their own homes and most want to continue living in the homes as they age.
The 78-page booklet is valuable not only for its tips, but because it specifically identifies manufacturers and suppliers of products mentioned and gives prices and sources of the products.
To get a copy of the booklet, call 1-800-237-4599 or write Hartford House, Box 4460, Hartford, Conn. 06115. For a loan copy of the videotape plus a copy of the booklet, call 1-800-243-6877. Groups wanting multiple copies of the booklet should write Richard A. Bulat, ITT Hartford, Hartford Plaza, Hartford, Conn. 06115.