Hampton Roads Area Information

Safety Tips for Hampton Roads Boomers

Safety Tips to Help Boomers Remain in Their Hampton Roads Home Longer With a Better Quality of Life

As Hampton Roads seniors move into the years closer to (or at) retirement, a new concern may be how they are going to stay in their present home safely.  With the current economic status, foreclosures, short sales and a decline in home sales, seniors in Hampton Roads that were considering selling their home, may feel tense about it.  They may be thinking of selling because of the safety concerns they now have in their home, such as falling down stairs, climbing entry stairs, trying to reach cabinets too high and slipping in bathrooms.  But Hampton Roads seniors have another option: modify their home to be safe instead of worrying about putting it on the Hampton Roads real estate market at this time.

Home Modifications Can Make a Huge Difference

Deciding to sell a Hampton Roads home can be exciting, stressful, sad or necessary, but no matter the reason, if homes in the area are not selling, then rethinking the sell and remodeling can be a better decision.  Making improvements to the current home means seniors can not only stay in their current home, but feel safe there as well.  Areas that usually need to be modified for safety include the entry, all staircases, bathrooms, kitchens, halls and doorways.  Because falls are the leading cause of injury in the aging population, stairs and flooring surfaces are the first areas to consider changing.  Things to look for before starting modifications are:
• Any interior or exterior obstacles that may cause trips and falls
• Raised surfaces such as thresholds or flooring changes between rooms
• Unlit entryways and lighting throughout the property
• Wet flooring areas
• Curbs in and around the Hampton Roads property
• Height of cabinets
• Width of hallways and doorways

Solutions to Safety Concerns Around the Home

Walking around the Hampton Roads property looking for any and all areas that can be potentially harmful is necessary before beginning the remodel.  After determining the areas that need attention, the modifications can begin.  The following are solutions that can be used to make Hampton Roads homes safe for seniors.

Exterior Solutions:

• Make sure there is at least one entrance without steps and a flat or low threshold
• The stepless entrance should have a 5’ by 5’ maneuvering space
• The pathways that lead to and from the curb need to be clean and textured
• All entries need to be well-lit
• Install motion sensitive lighting outdoors
• Have handrails created and installed
• Put in ramps, or a gently sloping path

Interior Solutions:

• Passage doors need 32 inches of clearance space
• Hallways need to be 42-inch-wide (where possible)
• Easier to have bedroom and bathroom on the main floor
• Laundry room needs to be on the main floor
• Remove all area rugs, and install low-pile carpet with firm padding

Solutions for Reaching:

• Purchase rolling carts for additional storage space.  They are easy to reach and can be
stored in knee spaces.
• Install pull-out work surfaces below microwaves.
• Install new outlets or switches at more accessible locations.
• Purchase a new range with front mounted controls.
• Install shelves under high wall cabinets for additional reachable storage.
• Replace existing knob handles with loop handles.
• Remove turning knobs and replace with lever faucets.
• Create knee space under the sink to improve access to dishwasher and sink
• If Refrigerator is not side-by-side, replace it for easier access.
• Install hanging racks for reachable storage.

Solutions for the Kitchen:

• If the door leading in to kitchen swings in, and it obstructs a bathroom or kitchen
• Fixture, use offset hinges.  If the door swings out, hinge the door on the opposite jamb or widen the doorway.
• Install more electrical outlets for additional lighting and alarm indicators (good for bedrooms too)
• Make sure all floor space in kitchen has a minimum 60-inch turning circle with the space free and clear of obstructions
• Install lever faucets and remove turning knobs
• Replace knobs on cabinets and drawers with handles
• Install adaptable cabinets to reveal knee space

Solutions for the Bathroom:

• Clear a 5’x5’ floor space in the bathroom
• Install Non-slip flooring
• Make sure the bathroom is at least 5’x8’
• Install textured grab bars by the toilet, tub and shower.
• To reduce bending, offset the controls in shower/tub.
• Make sure there is 48” by 56” toilet space with the centerline 18” from side wall
• Purchase or install a shower bench and a hand-held shower head
• Make sure shower is curbless, with non-slip surface and a fold-down seat
• There need to be doors that can be unlocked from the outside
• Install a bathroom telephone
• Round off all counter edges

Follow These Hampton Roads Home Improvement Solutions for a Safer Home

Take the tension about thinking you have to sell a Hampton Roads property away because it is unsafe after you have made the modifications, which will make your home safe again.  As everyone ages, there are always new concerns about performing everyday tasks in the home, but after making the necessary changes, you should be able to remain in your Hampton Roads home until the time comes when you really do want to list it for sale on the Hampton Roads MLS.

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