Home Remodeling Tips for Fall Prevention
Home Remodeling Tips for Fall Prevention
Statistics bear out that it is important in home remodeling to plan for fall prevention. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death for seniors. One out of 3 adults will fall each year, and one will need to go to the emergency room every 20 seconds because of serious injury. The longer it takes for a person who has fallen and cannot get help to be discovered, determines their ability to survive and recover. Here are some valuable tips to consider.
General – Home Remodeling Tips For Fall Prevention
- Have adequate lighting. It can be more advantageous to have ceiling and wall lights rather than floor or table lamps. Consider having some BeOn bulbs, which has a built-in battery that will come on if the power goes out, and will learn when they get turned on and off and can automatically turn on and off for you at the times you like. Have them come on automatically at night. (They are great making it look like you are at home when you are away too!)
- Have sufficient number of raised outlets so there are no cords extending over a pathway.
- Have a zero-threshold entry.
- Have a level ground floor, fill in any sunken living rooms.
- Have motion detection floor lighting in the hallway that come on at night as someone is approaching.
- If there are stairs, have sturdy handrails on both sides.
- Any area rugs should be large, on a nonskid mat, with edges taped down.
- Design cabinetry to have adequate storage of heavy appliances, dishes, pots and pans close to waist level. Have roll out bottom shelves for easy access.
- Have ovens at waist height, rather than below or above a cooktop. The oven should have a nearby place to set the hot dish.
- Raise the dishwasher.
- Have a walk-in pantry to store heavier and most used items around waist level. Items can be easily seen and retrieved. Have a readily accessible step ladder. (Do not use a chair or box to reach for items)
- Countertops should be the right height for food preparation.
- Have visual contrasts between floor, cabinets, counters. Have rounded counter edges.
- Dining chairs should not have wheels, and should have armrests.
- Consider installing a skylight or solar tube with a night light in bathrooms with no windows to provide natural light.
- Have a no-threshold walk-in shower with a shower seat and hand-held showerhead
- Install 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.
- Have undercabinet lighting, roll out shelves for the bottom cabinet, and adequate height counter with rounded edges.
- Since many falls occur in the bathroom which is full of hard surfaces, have an Amazon Echo, or Google Home in the bathroom in case of a fall and one does not have a phone with them. By installing the, Ask My Buddy app, one can say either, “Alexa, ask my buddy for help” or, “Goggle, alert my family” (at the time of this writing, neither have the capability to call 911) and the designated person will be alerted that you need help.
- Participate in a good exercise program that increases strength, balance, agility, and coordination.
- Get an annual check-up of blood pressure, sugar levels, vision, and hearing. Discuss your medications with a pharmacist to see if any could effect your ability to avoid falls.
- Wear properly fitting, good condition shoes with nonskid soles. Avoid high heels.
- Respect that our bodies are aging. If we are not physically active regularly, think twice about engaging in an activity you have not done in a while. Just because last year you got up in the attic to bring down the Christmas decorations and got up on a ladder to hang Christmas lights, does not mean you are still in the same condition to be able to do it a year later. Be wise and delegate or hire help, so you can safeguard and enjoy good health!
Happy Home Remodeling! Practice fall prevention!
Tagged aging in place, Universal Design, Universal Design Certified Remodeler