The Home Modification/Repair Process:
Why do we do Home Modifications?

"As the population of older adults continues to grow, home modifications are a key factor in enabling individuals to "age in place," or live in the place or home of choice.  An AARP (2010) study found that more than 80% of people older than age 50 want to age in their own homes for as long as possible.  Home modifications also can benefit clients of all ages with health conditions, sensory or movement impairments, or cognitive disorders by supporting the performance of necessary and desired daily activities (occupations), safety, and well-being."

What are Home Modification/Home Repairs?

First of all, there is a distinct difference between a home repair versus a home modification.

Repairs fix home elements that are broken and may not necessarily improve the usability for the resident. 


Home modifications are changes made to adapt living spaces to increase usage, safety, security, and independence.  The home modification process includes evaluating needs, identifying and implementing solutions, training, and evaluating outcomes that contribute to the home modification.  The results of this process may be recommendations for alterations, adjustments, or additions to the home environment through the use of specialized, customized, off-the-shelf, or universally designed technologies; low- or high-tech equipment, products, hardware controls and cues, finishes, and furnishings; and other features that affect the layout and structure of the home.  

Examples of home modifications would be replacing a faulty bathroom faucet with a temperature-limiting lever-handle model or replacing a loose interior or exterior handrail with a new handrail that is securely installed.

Beyond the scope of requested repairs, a trained home modification provider can provide many other simple, inexpensive improvements that adapt the resident's living space to increase usage, safety, security and independence.  Securing loose floor coverings, adding a non-slip bathmat, replacing existing bulbs with brighter lamps, eliminating clutter, and removing or cover extension cords are a few examples.  In addition to the benefits of these simple home modifications for the resident these same improvements serve co-occupants, family, visitors, caregivers, and home health care providers.

Listed below are the repairs and modifications that we can provide for a homeowner, pending a home assessment, to make their home "Safe and Healthy":

  • Bathroom:
    - Upgrade outlets to GFCI in
    bathrooms (in house is grounded)
    - Repair/replace
       sink/faucets/drain/supply line
    - Repair/replace exhaust fans in
       bathrooms (not install)


  • Toilet:
    - Provide toilet seat riser
    - Install comfort height toilet


  • Tub/Shower:
    - Install handheld shower unit
    - Provide bathmat
    - Provide tub transfer bench
    - Provide shower chair
    - Install bathtub cut-out


  • Grab Bars:
    - Install grab bars
    - Install vertical rail


  • Flooring/Stairs:
    - Repair/install stair rail
    - Install transition strips
    - Possibly replace flooring with
       waterproof luxury vinyl plank

  • Clothes Dryer:
    - Change dryer vent to
       rigid metal duct
    - Vent dryer outside
    - Replace dryer vent 


  • Heating/Cooling:
    - Replace furnace filters
    - Cover open furnace filter
    - Possibly repair/replace
    - Install dehumidifier


  • Lighting:
    - Replace lightbulbs
    - Install night lights


  • Interior General:
    - Possibly appliance 
      replacement (only if not 
      working at all - fridge, 
      stove, range hood)
    - Provide bump dots for 
    - Correct plumbing leaks
    - Install lever handles on


  • Exterior:                           
    - Replace house numbers
    - Repair/replace 
    - Handrails
    - Ramps
    - Low-rise steps
    - Gutters/Downspouts/
    - Repair/replace gutters                   

  • Exterior Doors:
    - Replace door   


  • Smoke/Fire:
    - Fire safety (smoke


  • Water Heater:
    - Water heater


  • Kitchen:
    - Upgrade outlets to GFCI
      in kitchen (if house is
    - Repair/replace

What is a Home Assessment?

Once an application is received and approved, a home assessment is completed by a RTFV staff member certified in home modifications.  A home modification assessment is a process to evaluate the home environment for areas that might pose problems to the resident and then use that information to make recommendations to improve the resident's occupational performance.  Here at Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, we follow the National Center for Healthy Housings' "Health and Safety 25 Point Checklist".