As we spend more time at home, the connection between home and health is heightened

May 13, 2020
by Caroline Blakely, President and CEO at Rebuilding Together National

Many of us are spending more time at home these days. As people self-quarantine, employers implement work-from-home policies and states limit travel, the importance of the direct correlation between our health and the state of our home increases. Simply put, a home that is up to code, decluttered, and free of mold, allergens and asthma triggers is a healthier living environment. It is also critical that a home is adapted for the needs of each resident. A home that is well-lit and has grab bars will reduce risk of injury for seniors and people with disabilities. At a time when our healthcare system is under extreme pressure, we owe it to each other to make sure our homes and the homes of neighbors are safe.

In these times of crisis, Rebuilding Together’s work of providing critical home repairs to ensure the safety and health of our low-income neighbors, including families with young children, seniors, people with disabilities and other at-risk populations, is needed more than ever. Rebuilding Together takes a scientific approach to home repairs to ensure increased well-being and improved health for each resident. Rebuilding Together is often the primary resource of emergency home repairs for these groups.

While Rebuilding Together serves those who most need critical home repairs, our approach can benefit anyone—especially those spending increased time at home in coming weeks and throughout the year. Now is the time to make necessary home repairs and modifications to make sure we are living in a safe and healthy environment. If we do our part to make sure our living conditions are safe, we’re doing our part to reduce burden on an already-overwhelmed medical system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, community preparedness for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, as well as the organizations that support them, to ensure their needs are met. At the national and local level, Rebuilding Together is monitoring the spread of COVID-19, taking precautions to protect high-risk individuals and families, and preparing for increased demand and new ways of delivering our services. We cannot let the threat of COVID-19 prevent seniors, low-income families with young children and people with disabilities from accessing emergency home repairs they need to stay safe in their home during these unprecedented times.

Through our emergency repairs program, we are providing critical home repairs and modifications to allow older adults or other at-risk populations to safely shelter in place. We are working with communities to address simple home repairs that do not compromise distance expectations, like installing air conditioning units in bedrooms so that, as temperatures rise, seniors do not get overheated and have to visit emergency rooms. And there are many simple steps anyone can take to remain safely at home, including things as simple as removing a rug near the top of the stairs to avoid tripping and falling, making sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order, creating an emergency contacts list and installing a non-slip mat in showers and bathtubs.

Rebuilding Together has a vision of a safe home for every person. We are here to provide repairs and modifications to those who cannot afford them or are physically unable to make those necessary changes. For everyone else, we are here to provide guidance. Together we can make our communities safer, and together we can take the necessary steps to prevent injuries at home and free up beds in hospitals during this time of crisis