by Dedra Jize, OT, CSA
Geriatric Care Manager, Law Offices of Roy W. Litherland
Let’s go and take a tour of your home and check it out for safety. That’s right…get up and let’s walk outside and stand in front of your home.
Out Front: First, are your house numbers highly visible (night and day) for emergency personnel? Do automatic lights on timers or motion detectors brightly light the path to the front door? Do you have steps? Highlight them by painting the edge a contrasting color. There should also be a step railing to hold onto.
Entryway: Your entryway should have a nonslip rug, flooring in good condition, and a light switch right at the door to illuminate if needed. Use a combo lock for versatility.
Living space: Toss out those ‘throw rugs’; they are tripping hazards. Can you reach the light switch easily on the wall or on the lamps? Clear the path! No piles on the floor. The flooring should be in good repair and clear of cords and items.
Kitchen: You can have a small rug in front of the sink to absorb spills if needed. Are you one of those people who store stuff in their oven? Get it out of there! Minimize your kitchen ‘stuff’ so there is a place for everything. Check that you appliances work properly. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Now let’s walk down the hall/stairs to the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Hallway/Stairs: Your hallway and stairs should be well lit with light switches at both ends of the hallway or stairs. Again, look down at the flooring. It should have no ‘throw rugs’, be in good condition and stairs should have a railing on BOTH sides.
Bedroom: No ‘throw rugs’ (I really can’t emphasize that enough). Keep furniture to a minimum. Minimize the clutter. The nightstand should be clear so that it can hold a lamp, a remote, and a phone in case of emergency (with charger if it’s a cell phone). No piles on the floor. Use motion detector night-lights on your outlets to help you see your way to the bathroom when dark.
Bathroom: Use motion detector lights. Check that all your outlets are GFCI to prevent electrical shock. A low profile nonslip rug can be used in front of the sink for spills or outside the shower/tub. Do you have any grab bars? Are there enough and at the proper height? You need grab bars both inside and outside of the shower/tub. And that tub, consider changing it into a walk-in shower.
Garage: Your garage should have a railing where the step-down is and should be well-lit with an easily accessible light switch and clear path. Any electrical cords dangling or stretched across the floor? Hire an electrician to install more outlets in places you need them.
Backyard: Is there a railing if you step down? Check that all the decking and walkways are in good repair. Clear the pathway to the garbage cans. Have a pool? For safety for everyone, young and old alike, install a fence around it.
So, how was your tour? See anything to work on now? Do you have any questions? Call Dedra Jize, OT, CSA, the Geriatric Care Manager in our office. She offers Home Assessments and referrals to help you get the job done. Call (408) 356-9200 today for a free 15-minute consultation to see how she may be able to help you.