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EVERYDAY TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE SAFE

Sometimes the very place you count on for comfort and relaxation can also be filled with hidden dangers. Our Safe at Home program points out some common risks that can lead to injury in the home.

Whether you are young or old, able bodied or physically challenged, you should feel safe at home. Here are some easy tips to help you improve the safety and accessibility of your home.

TUBS/SHOWER equipment can be adapted to improve both safety and independence. Use hand-held shower heads, long handled sponges, simple tub benches and skid-proof rubber mats. Shower curtains are safer than shower doors.

TOILETS can be installed with a wide variety of enhancements to improve safety such as simple grab bars or specially-designed commode chairs.

PIPES that are exposed should be insulated to prevent burns and scrapes. This is important if you have toddlers who can squeeze into small places.

FAUCETS can be converted to a single lever handle. Some even operate with a sensor eye so you don't need to use your hands at all.

SKID-PROOF RUGS or rubber mats are recommended for the floor in front of the sink to avoid slipping on wet spots.
Never lock the bathroom door in case someone needs to reach you in an emergency.

TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY:

  • Widen doorways by removing moldings
  • Remove vanities
  • Install long-levered door handles

CABINETS often have shelves that are too high to reach safely. Store frequently used items on the lowest shelf, at waist level, or on the counter. Avoid using step stools and never stand on a chair to reach high items.

DRAWERS that contain knives or other sharp tools should be neatly arranged and in an area where there's lots of light. Never reach into a drawer without looking.

SKID-PROOF RUGS or rubber mats are recommended for the floor in front of the sink to avoid slipping on wet spots.

TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY:

  • Remove cabinetry underneath counters
  • Hang cabinets no higher than 4 1/2 feet from the floor
  • Consider a side-by-side refrigerator
  • Set electric switches or outlets in kitchen counters

GUTTERS/WINDOWS need to be cleaned; but if this requires a step ladder, make sure someone is bracing it for you, and don't overextend your reach.

PORCH AND STAIR RAILINGS should be checked regularly. Make certain that they're securely anchored. If they're loose, have them repaired immediately.

CRACKS in cement walks or stairways need to be patched before they spread and become even more hazardous.
Falls in the home are a leading cause of serious injury, especially among the elderly. Have a doctor check hearing, vision or foot problems. Many of these problems increase your danger of falling.

STAIRS AND HALLS must be well-lit at all times. Illuminated light switch plates make it easier to find light switches; they are inexpensive and easy to install. Use sturdy handrails when walking down steps; consider installing handrails for hallways. Tack down loose carpeting everywhere in your home, especially on steps. Consider removing lose throw rugs from your home because they can easily cause you to fall.

FURNITURE should be carefully arranged to provide plenty of walking room. Use chairs with strong backs and sturdy armrests and tables with four legs (not tripod or pedestal tables).

TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY:

  • Make sure that light switches are easy to reach
  • Carefully arrange furniture to provide plenty of space for a wheelchair or walker
  • Use a common-sense approach to your own home and you will be able to to do a lot to make it more secure. If you keep tripping over the same chair, move it. If you've ever slipped in the bathroom, don't automatically assume it was clumsiness.
  • Think about the source of the problem and try to correct it. Most of all, be conscious of your surroundings. Walking down cellar steps without proper lighting or feeling your way to a bedroom in the dark can be invitations to disaster. Remember, accidents in the home are a leading cause of serious injury.
  • You need to take action to correct any household problems. Some modifications may cost nothing, like rearranging furniture. Some changes may require modest purchases light brighter light bulbs and rubber mats.
  • If you cannot fix these household problems yourself, enlist a family member or friend, or contact us for the name of a qualified contractor. The suggestions made in this brochure offer a range of options. If you're disabled, call us for a qualified rehabilitation professional who can help evaluate your individual needs.
  • If you take some simple steps to correct the problems you have in your home, it can be as safe as every home should be.