…Or technically the driveway and sidewalks. People often overlook the outdoor spaces and entrances for safety when entering or leaving the home. Overlooking these areas place vulnerable people at risk for falls. One of the most challenging things a senior might do in a day is to go out to get the mail, walking on steps or stairs, or uneven surfaces, can be extremely frightening.
What type of surface is the driveway? Gravel provides an uneven surface and can throw someone with poor balance to the ground in a second. Level pavement is definitely a better a choice if you are updating or renovating an older property, or simply comparing properties to rent or buy.
If your driveways and sidewalks are concrete, look for cracks or shifts in the pavement that need repair. Sometimes one block of the concrete will shift up a small amount but as little as 1/2″ can trip up someone, especially if they are older. Remember, serious injuries keep people from successfully aging in place.
The best accessible homes have a level entrance with no steps or stairs, however, many older homes do have steps or stairs to enter. The fewer the steps/stairs the better, and having a hand hold or a rail of some kind goes a long way to preventing a fall. If there are several steps there should be a hand rail on each side of the steps to facilitate safety going up and down.
Is the porch in good repair? If it’s wooden are their loose or soft boards that give or likely to cause a trip? If you have a wooden deck at the back of the house, check for any issues that could cause a fall. Concrete surfaces should be crack free. If the surface is slick when wet consider adding some safety strips for traction or there’s a texture coating you can add to decrease slipping on slick, wet concrete.
Most people overlook the next tip – making sure porch lighting is bright enough and in good repair. As people age, their eyes need brighter light to see adequately. Ensuring porch bulbs installed at the brightest wattage for the socket rating really improves safety. Motion activated lights are ideal, and helpful if coming in at night or checking on something in the car. Solar powered lights that trigger off at dawn and on at night for outside lighting are also great too for deterring thieves or other troublemakers.
The front door should, at a minimum, have a peephole allowing people to see who is at the door to determine if it is safe to open the door or not. The newer camera doorbells that can interact with your phone or laptop can be an even better option to improve safety.
Every entrance should be examined for safety with lighting, trip hazards, and need for a grab bar or hand rail to decrease risk of falls. Enhancing entrances, driveways, sidewalks with better lighting, smooth pathways improve the chance for aging successfully in place.
If you would like a free consultation about whether you have concerns about your own home or your loved one’s home, feel free to reach out to me. 817/680-0015 or email me.