Tips for Home Safety and Accessibility
Hazards in the home are responsible for about a third of the injuries suffered by older adults, and people with impairments may face difficulties—and barriers to independent living—in their own environments. It therefore makes sense to observe household habits, identify problem areas, and make changes that will help create safer, more accessible living situations. Since June is Home Safety Month, we’ve compiled a list of easy fixes to common problems. The products shown are samples of the many from which to choose at Cole Hardware.
- Improve lighting, if necessary, both indoors and out, to add safety as well as security. Take special note of stairways, and don’t forget closets.
- Night lights or motion-sensor lights should be put in hallways and bathrooms used at night. Entryways and stairwells should be well lighted, too. One of our favorite motion sensor lights is the Light It™ wireless LED porch light, which can stand on a surface or be mounted on a wall. (Sku 3266087, $31.99)
- Key ring flashlights allow maneuvering through dark parking areas—or even to the bathroom. The FrogLeggs™ Night Vision light is small enough to attach to a key ring and features a long-life LED bulb. (Sku 9309501, $3.49)
- Stair safety treads provide stability, and a contrasting color tread at the edge of a step gives a visual cue. Cole Hardware has assorted widths, colors, and textures available.
- Handrails should be positioned about adult elbow height on both sides of staircases. Knobs at both ends will alert the user that the stairs end.
- Grab bars should be situated vertically at tops of stairs, and bars or handrails should be placed in bathrooms where needed (towel racks should never be used for support).
- A shower seat and a handheld showerhead will help avoid fatigue and eliminate bending. The Safety First™ nonslip seat has rustproof legs and fits in standard tubs and showers. (Sku 4017000, $44.99) The Oxygenics® handheld power massage showerhead has five settings, a 5-foot hose, and a stationary mounting bracket. Easy installation. (Sku 4495750, $39.99)
- Nonslip coatings or safety mats or strips will guard against slips in tubs and showers. Bath mats should have nonskid backings.
- Limit the use of extension cords and fasten them to baseboards. 3M Cord Clips hold firmly and remove cleanly with no surface damage. Each clip holds 1 pound. Package of four clips and five adhesive strips. (Sku 5095856, $4.99)
- Throw rugs should be removed or secured to the floor with double-sided rug tape such as Manco® Lok-Lift Rug Gripper 2.5″ x 25′. (Sku 6016158, $11.99)
- Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for those with poor hand strength.
- Relocate items in cupboards and cabinets so that they are low enough to be easily reached.
- Lower closet shelves if necessary.
- A long-handled pick-up tool can be used to reach objects that are on high shelves or on the floor. The Pik Stik pick-up tool has a 32″ handle and a 4″ jaw opening. It will hold a 3-pound object. (Sku 2114957, $29.99)
- If a step stool is necessary, a sturdy one with side handles should be used.
- Clear moss and mildew from shady stairs and sidewalks so that areas are not slippery. Water-based Safer® Moss and Algae Killer and Surface Cleaner will do the job—plus it’s noncorrosive to metals and will actually beautify wood. (Sku 7115991, $19.99)
- Hose reels loop hoses out of the way.