Assessing Your Fall Risk at Home
Whew! What a time in the life of our country and our local communities. I hope everyone who is reading this is staying well, practicing social distancing and preparing for what comes next. And there will be a next thing so planning can give you focus now and creates a smart plan for the future.
As a person who may be considering remaining in their home as you age, what are the next steps you can do to prepare your home and eliminate a potential fall or trip hazard?
Start with the outside of your home. As you walk up to the front door or whichever door you normally use to enter the home, is there a sidewalk that has become uneven and may catch your toe as you enter or exit your home? Even a small unevenness can cause a shoe or toe to catch and then cause a loss of balance. Falling on concrete can be devastating to someone with brittle bones.
How about the door handle to the door you use to enter? Is it the traditional round knob? A lever handle is a simple change and can help someone with arthritis open the door much more easily minimizing the pain associated with turning a round knob. There are other solutions for door knobs, and we would be happy to visit with you to discuss those options.
Do you have a step up into your residence from the front entrance or the garage entrance? While it might not be an issue now for getting in and out of your house, as your age the challenge of stepping up to enter can become difficult. A simple threshold which overcomes the step up or down is a way to reduce this fall hazard.
How often do you carry more than you should when entering or exiting a door? You may try to balance what is in your arms while trying to lock/unlock the door to enter your home. This is a recipe for disaster. Why not add a small table or pull down shelf which can hold your goods and allow you to unlock your door much more easily? This is one of the simplest things you can do which will pay off over the long run. Just make sure the table or shelf you add is not in the way of you entering or exiting your doorway.
Another great option for steps is to add a handrail. There are many attractive options that will blend with your home and will allow you to hold on while going up or down the stairs. Handrails can be installed inside or outside and come in budget-friendly prices.
For interior or exterior stairs, a chair lift may be another option. Give us a call and we can evaluate different models to accommodate your staircase and make sure the chair lift is measured for you. Many low cost versions are being sold to the consumer and what is often not told to the purchaser is that the weight and size of the person who the chair is for is of great importance. Installation by a professional matters.
I hope these ideas will help you look at these areas of your home and help you plan for your future aging in place needs. We are a phone call away to assist you with the process and can do a home assessment and create a plan with you. Your personalized plan can be implemented in small phases or all at once.