As you get older, you will find yourself spending more time at home, especially after you retire. It’s important that your home be easy to navigate and safe, in order to maintain your independence. Studies have found that most accidents occur at home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. However, there are many clever tricks and inventions that can make your living space more secure. Here are some ideas to minimize the risk of an accident occurring at home.
Phone doorbell with strobe lights: This device lets you know when someone is at the door and can help you if it's hard for you to reach it in time. The phone also has a video screen so you don’t have to open the door to strangers.
Rearrange the furniture: Clear pathways to ensure that there is plenty of room to walk around without bumping into items and falling. Don't allow clutter and don't hoard. Make sure anything you don't use is stored away.
Electrical cords: Opt for cordless items or have cords secured to the wall to prevent accidental trips. Many people think cables won't interfere with their lives until that first fateful fall.
Lighting: Improved lighting helps reduce falls and accidents. As you age your eyesight dims, therefore you should opt for light bulbs with a higher wattage.
Carpeting: Remove rugs that could lead to falls or secure them to the floor with double-sided tape.
Orthopedic pillows and backrests: Make your sofas and lounge chairs more ergonomic with backrests and supportive sitting pillows to avoid getting bedsores and backaches.
Chair raisers: Consider elevating your low resting chairs so that sitting down and getting up is quick and painless.
Lower and pull-out cupboards: Lowering cupboards and shelves can make it easier for you to access your kitchen equipment. Pull-out cupboards and retractable shelves also allow you to easily access items at the back or those that are too high to reach. When we have difficulties reaching something, or standing on chairs, that's when the risk of a fall becomes much greater.
Contrasting colors: Make sure your cooking tools have distinct colors, so it's easier to cook. Having contrasting-colored countertops and cupboard doors also makes navigating the kitchen easier for those with a weaker eyesight.
Long neck and retractable faucets: These faucets’ heads can be pulled out and stop you from having to stretch far to reach them. You can also wash pots and pans outside the sink this way.
Shallow sinks: Installing these can also help you wash dishes without unnecessary stretching and bending over.
Perching stool: This can help ease the strain on your feet when you prepare food at the counter.
Lighting: Add extra illumination by installing lights under the cupboards or shelves above the kitchen counters.
Wheeled tables: These trolleys allow you to safely move food and drinks from the kitchen to other rooms, without burdening yourself.
Telecare detectors: Installing fire alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that sound an alarm and are connected to a monitoring center can ensure that accidents are attended to.
Countertop appliances: Avoid bending down by keeping a mini-dishwasher and toaster oven on your counter top. This will make doing your dishes and cooking much easier and safer.
Long-reach pick-up tool: These long handles allow you to grab things off the floor and can be convenient for closing and opening hard-to-reach windows above sinks or countertops.
Long-handled dustpans and brushes: These can help you clean without bending unnecessarily, saving you from back pain and reducing the risk of losing your balance.
Shower chair: These can ease the fear of falling and slipping in the shower, making your shower experience more relaxing.
Bath chair lifts: These can help lower you into the tub. You can enjoy a soak, and then get lifted out, without any bending required.
Handheld shower heads: These can help you reach all those difficult to reach spots to ensure you come out the shower squeaky clean without having to stretch.
Elevated toilet seat: Toilets are often installed too low and a raised seat adds height so it’s not difficult to bend down to sit.
Grab bars: Install these next to the bath, toilet and on the shower walls to add extra support.
Non-skid mats: Place these near your bath or shower, toilet and sink to avoid slipping. Bath steps can also help when getting out of the bathtub.
Nightlights: If you use the bathroom at night but don’t like switching on the brighter main lights, you can install these to illuminate the room.
Bed raisers: It can be difficult to get out of lower beds. Elevating the bed can assist you with getting both in and out of it easily. Putting too much effort into rising can lead to falling if you lose your balance.
Bed rails: Installing these can offer additional help when getting in and out of bed.
Bedside lamps: These prevent unnecessary walks to turn the lights on and off. Installing either clapper lights or a light switch near the bed can help as well.
Bedside telephone: If you live alone it’s useful, and safer, to be able to call somebody from the comfort of your bedroom.
Wardrobes and bureaus: Keep clothes and other wearables within reach to prevent having to climb to access everyday items - which can cause a fall.
Commodes: If you have limited mobility or it takes you time to get to the bathroom, this is a good nighttime solution to prevent an accident.
Low-pile carpets: This can act as a protective cushion if you fall.
Bed leg rest: This provides you with a comfortable resting position after a long day of using your legs and feet. Elevation can provide relief for swollen ankles, varicose veins, edema, and inflammation.
Lever door handles: Replacing doorknobs with these makes opening doors much easier, particularly if you have arthritis. Moving the handle position to match your height also makes life more comfortable.
Handrails: Having rails on both sides of the staircase makes climbing the stairs easier, offering added support.
Stair lift: There’s no need to move from a two-story home thanks to this invention. It eliminates the hassle of climbing up and down steep stairs, which can often lead to falls and add strain to your legs.
Entrance hall table: Create a convenient place to stash keys and mail, making the entrance clutter free. This saves you from fumbling around when you enter or leave the house.
Key turners: This device can be attached to small keys and makes it much easier to turn it, especially if arthritis troubles your hand.