As people age, they prefer to continue living independently in their own homes. Balancing this desire with the everyday difficulties of growing older can often be challenging.
First, investigate community resources that may help you remain independent. Many agencies offer low-cost or no-cost services such as home repair, chores, transportation, companionship and in-home care.
For example, senior service organizations in the Puget Sound area provide minor home repairs to eligible residents for such needs as broken windows, minor plumbing problems or carpentry needs.
If your home is in need of more serious repair, other options are available.
For example, King County offers no-interest loans for up to $20,000 for major mechanical and structural repairs, as well for certain updates and improvements. (These loans are due and payable upon sale or transfer of the property.) In some cases, assis-tance is free if the repair is can resolve a life-threatening emergency and can be accomplished for less than $3,000.
King County also has free financial assistance available for low-income disabled tenants in need of home access modifications. Things like wheelchair ramps, roll-in showers and grab bars are examples of the types of modifications eligible under this program.

To find out more about fall prevention, home repair or other resources that can help seniors remain independent - or for answers to any other questions that older adults and their caregivers may have - call the Healthy Aging Partnership's toll-free, confidential information and assistance line at
1-888-4ELDERS (1-888-435-3377) or visit the Web site at www.4elders.org.
Grace Lutheran Church, in partnership with Medical Teams International and the Des Moines Legacy Foundation, offers FREE dental van service to eligible clients of all ages. Clinics are scheduled so you need to call for dates. Basic dental care will be offered to patients who have no dental insurance or are low income. For more information and to pick up a dental application, please contact Des Moines Activity Center, 206-878-1642. Applications must be submitted prior to appointments for screening. Proof of income is required.
South King Co. Fire and Rescue participates in a Falls Prevention program. To qualify, you must be 60 years or older, live independently, have either fallen in the past or be at risk of falling and live in Des Moines or greater Federal Way. Educators from South King County Fire and Rescue will visit your home to do a safety assessment. The visit will cover why falls happen and give you ideas on how to reduce injuries at home. Educators can also install risk reduction devices such as: night lights, bathtub bars, shower chairs, raised toilet seats, handheld showers, bathtub mats, carpet skid pads and bed rails. For more information or to schedule a home visit, call South King Fire and Rescue at 253-946-7337.