Many of us love our homes and want to live in them for a long time. It’s important to make sure your house is safe for today and tomorrow. It’s never too early to start. Look around to see if there are places that can reduce danger. Walk through your home, come in from the outdoors and look for areas that can be improved. Safety saves lives, both young and old.
Studies show that more than 75% of homeowners aged 50-plus want to stay in their homes after retirement. Creating a safe environment is essential for success.
One of the top reasons seniors go to the emergency room is because of unnecessary falls. These accidents can cause broken bones, head trauma, and possible long term recovery. They can also be prevented with some improvements to the home.
Stacks of books, piles of paper, pet toys and loose cords on the floor create tripping hazards. Small rugs, especially in the kitchen and bathroom are accidents waiting to happen. Even large rugs with tassels can be dangerous. Getting things off the floor or organizing them in baskets that can be put away can help eliminate future accidents. Make sure that cords for the TV, computers and floor lamps are out of traffic areas.
Don’t use small rugs if possible, but, if they are a must, then try to find ones with rubberized backing or add non-stick tape to the back so they stay in place.
Most of us know that our vision starts to weaken in our 40s. As a result, poor lighting can cause tripping down stairs, in the halls or over furniture.
Preparing food with less than adequate lighting can also increase the chance for cuts and burns.
Reading and hobbies need good lighting.
Floor lamps near chairs and work spaces, with cords out of the way, help make reading and tasks easier.
Using under cabinet lighting in the kitchen will also increase visibility for prepping and cooking tasks.
There are inexpensive and attractive battery operated lights that stick onto walls and cabinets for optimal visibility.
A lot of people don’t know that household batteries and filters need to be checked regularly. I like to check the batteries in my smoke alarms every six months. For example, things like filters for the furnace, dryer and kitchen appliances should be checked according to the manufactures’ schedule. Checking the bulbs on your outdoor lighting can help you be prepared for any visitors.
It is important that you can contact someone in case of an emergency. These days, technology offers many solutions. Smartphones can easily be set to respond to a voice command and call a responder.
You can ask your iPhone to contact someone by saying “Siri, call Susie.” If you have Amazon’s Echo products, ask Alexa to call a friend on your contact list.
Many smartwatches have similar capabilities, some can even recognize when the wearer falls and contact the specified emergency contacts.
Many homes have stairs to the front door, but even two steps can be a hazard.
Making sure that your guests are safe by keeping your steps and walkways clear and clean is always a good idea.
You can also provide good lighting for the entry and make sure that your address is easily seen from the street so that first responders can get right to you if there is a problem.
Big numbers, reflective paint and well-lit signs can also help.
Staying at home after retirement is the plan for many of us. It’s important to keep it safe for you and your family. Use these tips to find inexpensive opportunities to improve your house including minimizing tripping hazards, providing good light, checking filters and batteries, keeping walkways clear and finding ways to communicate easily.
Be vigilant and stay safe.