Purpose: This paper describes the types of difficulties older people have with their home environments and the factors associated with having such difficulties.
Method: Data were used from 296 study participants of the University at Buffalo's Consumer Assessments Study that examines the home modification needs and environmental difficulties of older people. A combination of socio-demographic variables, health and functional status indicators and measures of psychosocial well-being were used to predict environmental problems.
Results: An average of 13 problems with the environment that posed as a barrier to safe and independent performance was observed in homes. It was found that most difficulties occurred in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and access to entryways and rooms. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that having home environmental problems was most strongly associated with younger age, being female, being of minority status, having pain, and greater physical disability.
Conclusion: The findings show that a combination of conditions that include demographic and functional conditions place older people at risk for problems with the home environment that impede performance of daily living activities.