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Falls are the leading cause of accidental death for seniors. One out of three adults will fall each year, and the longer it takes one to get help determines their ability to survive and recover. Here are some valuable tips when remodeling to consider for increased safety and fall prevention.
* Have adequate lighting, with ceiling and wall lights preferred over table lamps. Have motion detection floor lighting for pathways. Consider having some BeOn bulbs, which have a built-in battery that will turn them on if the power goes out.
* Have a zero-threshold entry into the home and a level ground floor.
* If there are stairs, have sturdy handrails on both sides.
* Any area rugs should be large, on a nonskid mat, with edges taped down.
* Storage of heavy appliances, dishes, pots and pans close should be at waist level. Have roll-out bottom shelves for easy access.
* Specify ovens to be at waist height.
* Raise the dishwasher.
* Store bulky items in a walk-in pantry. Have a readily-accessible step ladder. (Do not use a chair or box to reach for items.)
* Have visual contrasts between floor, cabinets, counters. Have rounded counter edges.
* Dining chairs should NOT have wheels and should have armrests.
* A solar tube with a night light can provide natural light for bathrooms or hallways. (Check for tax credit eligibility.)
* Have a no-threshold walk-in shower with a shower seat, hand-held showerhead and a Tornado Body Dryer.
* Install grab bars for shower, tub and toilet. Specify the towel racks be attached to studs so they also can serve as a grab bar in an emergency.
* Since many falls occur in the bathroom which is full of hard surfaces, have an Amazon Echo or Google Home in the bathroom for safety and security. By installing the, Ask My Buddy app, one can call out, “Alexa, ask my buddy for help,” or “Google, alert my family,” and the designated person will be alerted.
It is best to prevent a fall or have a plan to get help if you have fallen and can’t get up and a phone is not in reach. Happy home remodeling!
Janet Cook, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, President of Cook Remodeling (celebrating their 39th year), invites you to visit their blog on cookremodeling.com for photos and more informative articles.