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4 Seniors: Simple home adjustments to help seniors age in place

OKLAHOMA CITY – A home can become a major obstacle for aging adults, but experts say there are several things you can do to make your home safer.

Eliminate trip and slip hazards: Since falls are a leading cause of home injury among seniors, start by moving furniture so there is a clear pathway. Also position any electrical or phone cords along the wall so they won’t be a tripping hazard. Also, remove throw rugs or use carpet tacks or double-sided tape to secure them.

In the bathroom, buy non-skid rugs for the floors and a rubber mat for the floor of the tub. You may also want to have a carpenter install grab bars in and around the tub or shower.

Improve lighting: Good lighting is important, so install the brightest bulbs allowed in lamps and light fixtures. Also, purchase nightlights for the bathroom and hallways, and consider installing under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen. You may also want to look at motion sensor lights outside the doors and in the driveway.

Easier living: To help make your kitchen easier to use, organize cabinets and put most useful items close. Also, consider installing pullout shelves beneath the counter and Lazy Susans in corner cabinets for easier access. You may also look into a kitchen stool and a shower chair for the bathroom.

Accessibility solutions: If you use a walker or wheelchair, adapt the house by installing ramps on entrance steps and over high thresholds. Swing-away or swing-clear hinges on doors also makes access easier.

Safety improvements: To stay safe, set the hot water tank to 120 degrees or below. If you have stairs, put handrails on both sides. Also, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of the house. Place lightweight, easy-to-use fire extinguishers in an easily accessible location.

For more tips, get a copy of AARP’s “HomeFit Guide.”