Easy and Inexpensive Fixes
Today’s post is about the simple things you can do around the house to help keep it accessible and decrease your risk of falling. The CDC reports that falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in adults over the age of 65. Sometimes just having a concern about falling can lead people to restrict activities that they can physically and mentally perform. This is a problem because being inactive can also raise your risk of falling. By remaining active, we can keep ourselves physically fit and fully engaged in life.
So what can you do to increase accessibility and visitability (how easy it is for others, from toddlers on up, to come to your home and access it) and decrease the risk of falling? Let’s start with the throw rug, between them curling up and the potential slippery-ness on the floor, throw rugs are a big cause of falls. The best solution is to get rid of them, though many people don’t want to remove them. So as a compromise I suggest putting them in less travelled areas and securing them to the floor with Lok Lift Rug Gripper Tape. This tape can secure the rug to the floor and at least help prevent falls that occur from rugs that go sliding out from under you. As a side note, it also makes vacuuming easy as the rug doesn’t move around as you vacuum it.
Clutter is another leading cause of falls in the home. Falls can occur due to people not seeing obstacles and then tripping. I suggest that you take the time and organize your clutter, put things back when you are done and throw stuff away. Extension cords lying in the middle of the floor, or powerstrips with many cords coming out of them are ripe to encourage a fall. Remember, we are not only trying to reduce our risk of falling, but are trying to make our houses more visitable for our friends, children, and grandchildren that come over. Toddlers run all over the place and they too can trip over our clutter. An occupational therapist can help you come up with solutions for the extra stuff we all seem to accumulate
Lighting is an important consideration in keeping our homes accessible and safe. Good lighting can make it easier for us to move around at night and help us do the things we like to do. Night lights are an easy remodel that you can do. Think about when you wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom. How often is there some urgency? Do you then rush to the bathroom? Perfect time to hit the clutter! Adding some lights can help ease your access to the bathroom or throughout your house. Consider motion detecting night lights, they start around $8 and increase in price.
Adding task lighting in areas that you work can make doing the things you enjoy much easier. I enjoy cooking but where I live has poor lighting in the kitchen. Since I am renting I can’t add lights, but I have changed out the bulbs to LEDs. The light fixtures can take up to 60 watts and from an incandescent standpoint, that’s pretty dull. I purchased LED lights that use around 40 watts but produce the approximate light intensity of a 150 watt bulb, thus I’m getting more light and saving money too!
All of these ideas are fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to implement. They are a good start in the process of making your home accessible and safe. A more critical review of your home may be beneficial to help you identify potential barriers within the environment and how to overcome them by remodeling the rooms, adapting and modifying your favorite activities, or helping you maintain and develop the skills to continue using your home as long as you would like.