We entered this decade not knowing how much our lives, and this world, would have changed when the pandemic arrived in America. 

But despite the changes the pandemic has brought to our community, one sentiment remains the same for our aging population—people want to age in place and live independently for as long as they can. 

Last November, AARP released its “Home and Community Preferences Survey” study, which showed that 77% of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term. That number has remained consistent for more than a decade. 

As residents continue to age, we need to think about how we take care of older adults in our community. And part of accomplishing that is ensuring that older residents have access to home modifications and repairs that help them live independently─regardless of their income. Thankfully, those services are already offered in Arvada through a city partnership with long-time housing nonprofit Brothers Redevelopment.

During my time as an older adult case manager, I often found that even if the resources or supports are out there, many are unaware of them. Arvada residents should be aware of the Safe and Accessible Arvada and the Arvada Help For Homes programs.

The Safe and Accessible Arvada program offers the following services for low and moderate income, elderly and disabled households: 

Roll-in and step-in shower conversion

Wheelchair ramp construction

Wide tread exterior stair installation for walker access

Door widening for wheelchair/walker access

Grab bar and hand-held shower installation

Carpet to solid surface upgrade for wheelchair/walker mobility

The Arvada Help for Homes program offers these services to residents: 

Home safety services such as electrical, plumbing

Code compliance repairs and alterations

Sidewalk, concrete step and porch repair

Fence and gate repairs

Tree limb removal

Roll-under sink/counter installation                                       

Home painting services

Studies have shown that falling is the leading cause of injury, accidental death, and premature placement in a nursing home among older adults in the country. But research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that in-home falls can be reduced by nearly 40% with community-based programs that help older adults make modifications to their homes. 

Arvada strives to be an inclusive community where everyone can be safe in their homes, and these free programs are ways that we accomplish those goals.These programs help Arvada residents continue to live independently while also allowing aging adults stay safe in their home. 

The Safe and Accessible Arvada and the Arvada Help For Homes programs are all about preserving quality of life and protecting our neighbors. If you’re an older adult in Arvada who is in need of home repairs or modifications, I hope you consider these free services. Learn more about these programs at https://arvada.org/residents/city-neighborhoods/safe-and-accessible-arvada. 

Lisa Smith, Arvada City Council