People always look forward to returning home safe and sound. Your home is where memories are made, friends are always welcome, and your loved ones feel most comfortable and safe. However, it’s often that injuries occur in the comfort of your own home. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), “falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults ages 65 and older.” Many of these unintentional home-related injuries occur in common places like stairs, doorways, ramps, uneven surfaces, and crowded spaces.
Fortunately, your home doesn't need to be a potential danger zone. If you remain aware, proactive, and up-to-date on home safety recommendations, you are well on your way to creating a safe home environment. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations:
1. Clear Path
Maintaining a clear path throughout your home, including stairways, exterior walkways leading to other exterior areas of your home such as mailboxes, gardens, and garages should be clear of clutter. Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room to walk around. It seems simple, but things really do get in your way!
Use of the proper flooring materials throughout your home are important to avoid slipping or tripping. Minimize flooring transitions through the use of a continuous flooring when possible, use lower pile carpet, and the use of rubber floorings are all good choices. If area rugs are present, they should be slip resistant or tacked down. Don't forget to reduce the perils of slippery stairs with slip resistant treads or carpeting. Bathrooms and wet areas are particularly dangerous, so wipe up water spills and use non-skid mats.
Natural light makes everyone feel great, so let the sun shine in. Start with opening your shades and blinds. Ensure that there is adequate man-made lighting for reading, working in the kitchen, in closets, in the bathroom and nightlights for navigating in kitchen, bath and hallways. Additional lighting on stairs, (on handrails, walls or underneath stairs), and use of motion-sensor lights to light exterior walkways or to illuminate interior spaces that are difficult reaching to manually light.
It's important to store items you use regularly within reasonable reach, including food, dishes, bathroom items, and clothing. How often do we get out a step stool or reach beyond our comfort zone and injure something or just fall off?
Whether you read this and think about your parents, grandparents, siblings, friends or neighbors, we hope to share useful and important information that can help anyone feel safe in their own home. It is easy to target seniors, yes, but the reality is, that they aren't the only ones that can benefit from making simple adjustments around the house.
This blog, and the work we do on a daily basis, is about providing our clients and others, with cost effective and easy to implement ways to improve home safety and home independence. We will explore topics in more detail as we go, and share personal stories and client experiences to relate real stories of everyday living to help others improve their own home safety, accessibility and comfort.
So join us in our journey to help you return to a safe and sound home!