One of the challenges of working with aging adults who want to stay in their homes as they grow older has been how to effectively assess their homes. We try to determine what home modifications could be done to make their homes safer, more accessible, and more comfortable. Most assessments have fallen into one of three categories. Self assessments, or simple checklists, call for you to check off features you have or don’t have. Evaluating performance is the type of assessment that measures a person’s abilities and limitations with little thought for the home they are living in. This is the type of assessment typically done by physical and occupational therapists. Finally, there is the type of assessment that builders and remodelers like myself usually do. We measure the features of the home and compare them to certain pre determined standards such as ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The drawback to each of these approaches is that each one only looks at one piece of the puzzle. The real question that needs to be answered is how is each person with their unique abilities and limitations functioning in that particular home? In other words, is the home a good fit for the person?

In studying for my Executive Certificate in Home Modification, I discovered an assessment tool that answers this question. This assessment tool is called CASPAR™ (Comprehensive Assessment and Solution Process for Aging Residents). This is the first assessment tool that I have seen that really answers the question, “Is the home a good fit for the person?” The assessment begins by asking the person we are doing the assessment for if they have any difficulty with each of a list of tasks. The next step is to find out what problems they might be having in various functions and activities throughout the house. Then we prioritize the problem areas in order of importance and urgency. Only after these items are addressed do we take measurements of the areas of the home that require modification. We prepare an itemized proposal of the modifications we recommend and present it to the client. The entire process allows the client to be in charge and choose only those modifications they desire. Having CASPAR™ in my toolbelt will allow me to help many aging residents stay in their homes for many years to come. For more information on home modifications, CASPAR™, or Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. please call 540-384-2064 or email

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