Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to North Jersey

Questions and Answers for a Safe and Accessible Home

I have heard that most falls occur in the bathroom, what do I do to avoid being included in this statistic?

Grab-bars can be installed to minimize the risk of falling. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. They do not have to make your bathroom look like a hospital. They can easily replace those towel bars that have been pulling out of the wall for years, and they can be attached on the walls of your shower as well as next to your toilet. It is very important to have them securely mounted by a person who has knowledge of home construction, as an improperly installed grab-bar can be more dangerous than not having one at all. Refrain from the use of suction cup grab-bars, as they frequently dislodge when they are needed the most.

In addition, an elevated toilet seat can be utilized to help get on and off the toilet. If you are renovating a bathroom, keep in mind the type of tile being used. A 2”x2” or smaller textured tile for the floor is recommended, as this will provide many grout lines for added traction. Also, sometimes climbing over a tub can be difficult. It is dramatically safer to walk into a shower with a low or nonexistent threshold. The floor of the bathroom can be contoured in a manner that will eliminate the need to step up into the shower, and a water resistant shower chair on wheels can be wheeled right in. A hand held shower with an on and off control can also make showering from a seated position more comfortable and safer.

I’m scared to use the stairs in my home, what should I do?

Often times the addition of a second stair-rail can decrease the risk of falling on stairs and can reduce the fear associated with stair-climbing. Routine checks of the security of the screws that hold the rail securely in place is necessary. At times, stairs are just too great of a challenge. A stairlift can be installed to alleviate this dilemma. Modern stairlifts are battery operated and continuously charge to allow for use in the event of a power failure. Seats swivel at the top of the lift to prevent falling down the stairs when exiting the lift. Most stair-lifts can be rented or purchased depending on your needs.

My doctor told me I need to use a wheelchair when I am alone, but it doesn’t fit through my bathroom door; is there something I can do?

A relatively simple fix to this problem is to remove the hand-rims from the wheelchair. If this is not sufficient, there are commercially available hinges that will add two inches of door width. If this is still insufficient, frequently a carpenter can install a wider door.

I have 2 steps leading to my front door and I am too weak to climb them. How long of a ramp do I need and what type of ramp should I have installed?

As a general rule, a ramp should consist of one foot of ramp for every inch of rise. They should contain rails on both sides, or at a minimum have a two inch curb to avoid rolling off the side. Ramps should be manufactured with low maintenance materials such as aluminum, fiber glass or steel and should incorporate a slip resistant surface. If possible, a ramp installed in a garage will be more comfortable and safer to use in inclement weather and will never have to be shoveled of snow.

Is there a certain professional that can give recommendations for home safety and accessibility needs?

Occupational and Physical Therapists are trained to understand medical conditions and how these conditions can interfere with function. Their rehabilitation experience allows them to understand the unique challenges people face after sustaining a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis etc. They would be an excellent choice for evaluating your home. A carpenter can mount a grab-bar in a home, but if not strategically placed to accommodate specific functional needs, then you haven’t accomplished the safety you desire.

Home    Featured Programs    Choose Local Area     Request Information
A JR Media Publication • www.jrmediallc.comSite Index