ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
The name of this company is ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
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ADAIN Blog

by Richard Acree of ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC

Home Modifications for People Living with Obesity

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According to Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), obesity impacts one in three Americans. It is estimated that more than 93 million Americans are affected by obesity, with that number predicted to rise to 120 million in the next five years. Within this population, it is estimated that 8-10 million Americans are affected by severe obesity – a disease characterized by an individual being 100 pounds or more over their ideal body weight.

Obesity has been defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 and above. For example, a BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight. The BMI, a key index for relating body weight to height, is a person's weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m) squared. Since the BMI describes the body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with the total body fat content.

Although obesity is a complex, multifactoral, and chronic disease that requires a comprehensive medical approach to care, obesity is fundamentally a medical condition resulting from an imbalance of caloric input versus caloric burn. People living with obesity can have decreased motor skills including poor balance, decreased strength, and limited endurance. Symptoms of obesity include a BMI greater than 20, food cravings, back and joint pain, and body temperature regulation that is difficult.

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Home modifications for people living with obesity can make life safer and easier in the home. A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist can help with home modifications. Examples of aging-in-place home modifications specifically for people living with obesity includes:

  • Refridgerator locks

  • Locks on food storage areas such as the pantry

  • Control access to whole kitchen with doors or gates that can be locked

  • Specific refridgerator in locked area

  • Alarms or monitors to notify adults of nighttime movement

  • A room with equipment as needed for back and joint pain, such as supported seating and specialty beds

  • Air conditioning in main living and sleeping areas

  • Ceiling fans

  • UV reflective window coatings

  • Window shades (can be insulated)

  • Update windows and doors for more stable indoor air temperatures

  • Zoned heating and cooling for the home

  • Covered/enclosed car parking (heated garage may be beneficial in cold climates)

  • Larger showers and bathtubs, depending on the condition of the obese patient

  • Wider hallways, doors and egress windows

  • Notify local first responders to the address of the severly obese

  • Increased structural support for flooring and specialty items such as grab bars

The home modifications listed above are representative. Please note that every child, every family, and every home is different, with unique needs. Every idea does not apply to every child, family, or home. This list does not replace having a home modification assessment for your family; nor does it replace the need for a skilled Occupational Therapist to work in-person with you and your building team. All ideas are implemented at your own risk; please use caution and judgment. Consult with a CAPS advisor. Home modifications can greatly improve quality of life, but should be combined with the direct services of skilled professionals, such as therapists, doctors, and social workers.

If someone you know suffers from obesity, please call Richard at 615-752-0060 to discuss the needs for a home safety inspection and home modification. For more information about the services Richard provides please see Residential Accessibility.

Thank you.