Sun Health at Home members protect their independence by bolstering home safety
By Meghann Sepulveda and Barbara Mason
When Jack and Priscilla Goodger came to Arizona 14 years ago, they built their dream home in Sun City Grand. Over the years, the Goodgers have customized their beautiful home to their liking, and they continue to make some changes along the way. They also joined Sun Health at Home so they could feel confident about remaining safe as they age in place.
The program, which is available to adults age 55 and older, offers personalized support, health and wellness services and in-home supportive services that help members remain independent in their home, all while providing a lifetime guarantee of care.
One of the determining factors in the Goodgers’ decision to become members of Sun Health at Home was Priscilla’s experience with complications following a total knee replacement. She was in a wheelchair temporarily and Jack had to make modifications in many areas of their home for Priscilla’s safety. The Goodgers experienced firsthand some of the challenges facing older adults who want to remain in their homes as they age.
The heart of the Sun Health at Home program is the wellness coordination team led by social worker Jennifer Keiser. As a wellness coordinator, Jennifer provides annual home assessments in order to plan ahead and be prepared for unexpected health scenarios.
“We look at all possible hazards in the home, such as poor lighting or rugs that are not secure and could cause someone to trip and fall,” Jennifer states. “We’ll evaluate the entire home for safety and overall accessibility.”
Some of the most common guidance that Jennifer provides during these assessments include recommendations to:
- Reduce trip hazards by relocating electrical cords and removing clutter.
- Install grab bars in showers and bathrooms.
- Remove throw rugs or replace them with slip resistant mats.
- Make sure railings are secure.
- Mark raised steps in the garage, entry and interior of the home.
- Ensure items will not fall from shelving and that important items are within reach.
- Have pets wear a collar with a bell so that you will know if they are walking nearby.
- Assure there is adequate lighting on the way to the bedroom and bathroom. Automatic nightlights and motion-activated lights are excellent options.
- Have a family member or handyman help with changing light bulbs, smoke alarm batteries and other tasks that require the use of a ladder.
Jennifer and her team are experts at spotting potential areas of risk and ensuring the safety of each member. Sun Health at Home also provides a personal emergency response system to each member in the event of an illness or accident either at home or away.
When the Goodgers joined Sun Health at Home earlier this year, they wanted to feel secure that they could age together at home. They are grateful for Jennifer’s keen eye and guidance regarding potential safety issues, as well as her recommendations on how they can live the healthiest lives possible.
“We aren’t ready to leave the home we created together,” Priscilla says. “We love everything about it here, especially the views of the golf course, the lake and the White Tank Mountains. We wanted to plan ahead so our children won’t have to step in if we experience a health crisis, and we appreciated the wellness coordinator aspect of the program.”
She adds, “We now have the added comfort of remaining in our own home for as long as we desire.”