Monday, April 20, 2009

Retirement Home Safety Part 3

A last series of home safety tips involving the exterior of your home.

1) Install railings in all stair cases, inside and out.
2) Make sure existing stair railings are solid and in good repair.
3) Make sure outside lighting is adequate, especially on uneven walkways.
4) Keep sidewalks and pathways free from debris and loose gravel.
5) Wet leaves and other decaying plant matter are slippery – keep walkways clean and swept.
6) Beware of icy conditions on driveways, sidewalks, and steps.
7) Use double-sided tape to keep outdoor rugs from slipping.
8) Paint a contrasting color or a strip of brightly colored tape on the front edge of all steps so you can see them better.
9) Make sure there are handrails on both sides of the stairs, and that they are as long as the stairs themselves.
10) Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure the steps are of equal height, and that they conform to current building codes.
11) If you need wheelchair access to your home, be sure any ramp is built to conform with building codes as well. Even a very slight incline can be terrifying if you are trying to negotiate that slope in a wheelchair! I believe the standard is: For every inch of rise, you need 12 inches of run. This can result in a very long ramp, which may require switchbacks in order to fit it onto your available property. Again, it is critical that you consult a professional before adding a structure like this. Your local Senior Services agency can probably refer you to the appropriate resources.