Everyone wants to live independently in their own home as they age.
However, many people don’t realize our homes present safety hazards that can not only be dangerous, but deadly under certain circumstances to elderly people. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, falls are the No. 1 cause of emergency-room visits and the leading cause of injury deaths among people age 65 and older.
Luckily, with a few safety upgrades, seniors can avoid safety hazards by making their homes safer.
“Seniors can do many things to their home to make them safer, more functional for them and still have beautiful spaces,” said Rebeca De Leon, designer at Limitless Kitchen & Bath in Antioch.
De Leon recommends seniors install pull-out trays in kitchen base cabinets to make them more accessible, without having to bend or kneel to reach inside, as well as task lighting – or under-cabinet lighting – to make the space more functional and safe.
Installing floors with a texture can also help prevent falls. A polished floor might be beautiful, but can be very dangerous, especially when wet.
“There are many porcelain floors that mimic stone, such as slate, travertine or even wood planks,” said De Leon. “Many are textured, come in a matte or semipolished finish and are much more safe and slip-resistant than a polished finish.”
For bathrooms, grab bars are very important in showers and around the toilet, making it easier to get up or out of the area.
“Upgrading your faucets from knob handles to a single handle faucet makes it easier on the hands to use and can help make life suffering with arthritis more bearable,” said De Leon.
For seniors looking for a handyman to help them with upgrades, Mr. Handyman in Brentwood is East County’s home-repair and improvement expert, with insured and highly skilled technicians.
“Making safety upgrades doesn’t have to break the bank,” said Desiree Welch, Mr. Handyman owner. “Most upgrades are simple and can be completed in a minimal amount of time.”
According to Welch, besides self-closing drawers and cabinets, pull-out sliding drawers and grip bars, there are additional safety measures that makes homes safer. Ensuring that all flooring is securely tacked down to prevent tripping, setting the water heater temperature to 120 degrees to prevent scalding and creating color contrast in your home can prevent injuries.
“As we grow older, our ability to see color contrast decreases,” said Welch. “Seniors may have difficulty distinguishing the walls from the floor and falls are more common.”
Welch recommends emergency call buttons be installed in strategic areas, such as next to the toilet or bed, instead of mounting on the wall.
“Wall-mounted emergency buttons may be out of reach during an emergency in these areas of the home,” said Welch, who added that open and close toilet seats are another popular safety item that helps to minimize bending.
Mr. Handyman also helps seniors with changing light bulbs, smoke-alarm batteries, installing grip bars, putting up and taking down Christmas décor and lights and other household tasks.
“I received excellent support from management, office staff and Jesse Reed, the handyman,” said Brentwood resident Jack Gaughan, who used Mr. Handyman to remove old concrete, install a new sidewalk and kitchen cabinet pull-out drawers and repair doors on his garage cabinets. “The quality of their work is outstanding.”
Mr. Handyman offers seniors a $50 senior discount.
Mr. Handyman is located at 80 Eagle Rock Way, Suite E, in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.mrhandyman.com or call 925-478-3684. Limitless Kitchen & Bath is located at 1201 Auto Center Dr., in Antioch. For more information, visit www.limitlesskb.com or call 925-230-0556.