Jan 28, 2014

Safe at Home?

Is your home safe?  Aside from not putting items in that harm you - like formaldehyde releasing furniture and VOC paints - there are some simple, low-cost changes you can make that will increase comfort, safety and accessibility for you, your children, aging parents and friends with disabilities. Most products I've referred to below are available at big box or local hardware stores. Check out these ideas!

1. Mount smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home especially outside bedrooms. These are critical in cooler months. Some sensors link to security systems. 

2. Remove throw rugs. They're trip hazards. If you must have one,
place double-sided carpet tape or self-stick carpet mesh underneath to secure it. 

3. Use LED bulbs in fixtures to get clear, bright light in hallway, bathroom and kitchen fixtures. An option is to swap out old recessed housings with an LED retrofit. Your energy costs will be lower but your light output will be better. 

4. Replace traditional light switches with rocker switches. Touch switches are nice and usually offer dimming capability too. Get automated lighting with occupancy or vacancy sensors. 

5. Install lever handles on interior and exterior doors and pulls on drawers and cabinets. They'll be easier to open. There are levers available that convert round doorknobs too. 

6. Need more access through doorways? Rather than demo a doorway, install offset hinges and get 2 inches more width for easy access.

7. Install night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and on stairways.  There are new models that automatically go on when it's dark and some can be removed and used as a flashlight. 

8. Place nonslip strips or decals in the bathtub and on the shower floor.

9. Install a hand-held, adjustable shower head for cleaning and bathing.  There are beautiful fold-down teak benches that add a spa- like feel for seated bathing. 

10. Place an A-B-C-rated fire extinguisher within easy reach of your stove/range, fireplace and in your garage and laundry rooms. 

11. Be sure your shower, tub and kitchen faucets have lever-handles with anti-scald protection.

12. For safer travel up and down stairs, install handrails on both sides of the staircase and use nonslip, reflective or contrasting tape on the edge of the stair tread.

13. For home security, install a peephole on all exterior doors and motion-sensor floodlights around the perimeter. 

14. To light your way at night, install photosensitive porch or entryway lighting that comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn. Add plug in timers to table lamps to turn lights on and off at pre-set times. 

15. Install balance bars in bathrooms, hallways, and at step-down locations to help maneuver safely. 

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