safety tips

  • Tips for Aging in Place

    The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans ages 65+ will increase to more than 73 million by the year 2030. The number of people ages 85+ will increase to nearly 9 million by the year 2030.

    Among this group of Baby Boomers, aging in place is the most common (and growing) trend.

    In fact, in HomeAdvisor’s “Aging in Place Survey Report,” the survey highlighted projects that are most important to those homeowners as they prepare to age in their homes. The report estimated that more than 70 percent of homeowners who are currently completing a remodeling project are doing so in an effort to make age-related improvements for either themselves or their parents.

    So, what can adults do now as they prepare to age in place? The following are some helpful and simple tips.

    Aging in Place - Tips to Keep You Safe at Home

    Kitchen

    #1 - Consider the location of your kitchen.

    Ideally, kitchens should be on the main level of your home as navigating stairs may be more difficult for someone with mobility issues.

    #2 - Adjust the height of the dishwasher.

    Adjusting the height of your dishwasher can reduce the amount of strain required when loading/unloading dishes.

    #3 - Leave space below your kitchen sink.

    Adjust the height of your kitchen sink, or consider installing a motorized sink that raises or lowers. Also consider leaving space beneath the sink. All of this allows a wheelchair user to better navigate and use the sink independently.

    Bathroom

    #1 - Consider the location of your bathroom.

    When aging in place, it is important to have at least one full bathroom on the main level of your home.

    #2 - Consider space to move.

    When thinking through bathroom design, keep in mind that space will become more important as you age. Consider the use of wheelchairs, walkers or other assistive devices, and plan for walk-in showers and more.

    #3 - Adjust the toilet height.

    One of the easiest and most important things you can do is adjust the height of your toilet. For example, a toilet that is slightly higher may make it easier on a person who is disabled or an elderly person who has had a knee replacement and has difficulty getting up from a seated position.

    Bedroom

    #1 - Consider safety handles.

    When we’re young, we don’t think about getting into and out of bed. However, as we age, this task becomes increasingly difficult and can be dangerous.

    Consider installing safety handles for increased stability.

    #2 - Consider clutter.

    Look around your bedroom as it is now. Are there things on the floor? Additional furniture that you really don’t need? Closets that are overflowing with items?

    Clear the clutter and decrease your chances of accidents or injury from objects.

    Store heavy items on lower shelves or on the floor, donate items that you haven’t used within a year or more. Consider getting rid of furniture to create more space to maneuver around your bedroom safely.

    #3 - Consider the lighting.

    As we age, our eyesight often diminishes. Make it easier to see where you are going by replacing old bulbs and/or swapping out lampshades. Increase your chances for natural lighting by replacing window dressings and keeping blinds open during the day.

    Make use of automatic night lights in the evening to help illuminate your path if you have to get out of bed for any reason.

  • 5 Tips for Safer Road Trips This Spring

    Spring is officially here- which means warmer weather, vacations, and road trips. If you're planning a road trip with your friends or family, the following tips are helpful to keep in mind.

    road-trip-sign

    Tips for Safer Road Trips

    #1 - Take your car in for a check up.

    Some people check in with their doctors first to make sure they're cleared to play a new sport. You should check in with your mechanic to make sure that your car is ok to hit the road.

    This includes oil changes, making sure your tires are in good shape, topping off and checking any other fluids, and making sure that everything else looks good with your vehicle.

    #2 - Renting a car? Know the technology inside.

    Too often, those who rent vehicles jump into them and hit the road without first reviewing all of the safety features and other various technological quirks. Today's vehicles are equipped with backup cameras, blind spot triggers, DVD players, and countless other buttons and symbols that you may not necessarily be familiar with or used to because you may not have them in your own vehicle. In some cases, it's been reported that some people don't even know how or where the button is to open up their gas tank!

    Take a moment to review the safety features, buttons, and symbols with your rental car agent. This can save you time and frustrations on the road.

    #3 - Plan ahead, and be prepared.

    One of the best things you can do for yourself (and for those who are traveling with you) is be prepared. If you're taking a road trip from Indiana to sunny Florida, know where the rest stops are along the way, and make sure to pack a first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, and other emergency items.

    If you are traveling across the country by car, you'll also want to dress appropriately. Pack extra blankets, and keep a small backpack filled with items in the event that you have to abandon your vehicle.

    image-via-mccun934-flickr-cc

    #4 - Get plenty of rest.

    It goes without saying that if you're the one doing all of the driving, it is absolutely necessary that you get plenty of rest - not just the night before your big trip- but even the week leading up to it.

    Plan to take plenty of breaks along the way, and if you start to feel tired, allow another responsible, licensed adult to take the wheel. If you're the only designated driver, then plan to pull over in a safe place and take a break until you feel safe to resume driving.

    #5 - Avoid distractions while driving.

    Distracted driving is the leading reason for most vehicle accidents and deaths. Examples of distracted driving include:

    • Texting
    • Talking on the phone
    • Engaging in social media
    • Eating/Drinking
    • Taking pictures

    If you are on a road trip, and you see something that you want to take a picture of or post to social media, have another passenger in the car manage it. In fact, it may be helpful to designate another passenger as the "picture taker" prior to departing. If you see something that you want to photograph or post to social media yourself, pull your vehicle over and then take a picture or have a conversation, etc.

    The most important thing to keep in mind is paying attention so that you and your passengers can make it to your final destination safely.

  • Winter Tips for People with Physical Disabilities

    #1 - Have an emergency kit (in the car, at home)

    Regardless of whether you have a physical disability or not, you should keep an emergency kit in your home as well as in your handicapped van or other vehicle.

    The items you choose to include in your emergency kit can vary, but many people choose to include:

    • Batteries
    • Flashlight
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Water
    • Blanket(s)
    • Clothing
    • First Aid supplies*

    *If you or someone you know has a physical disability, you will want to check with a physician to confirm what other items you may want to include in an emergency kit. For example:

    Backup supply for electrical-powered mobility equipment

    • Oxygen tank
    • Extra medications (prescription & non-prescription)
    • Hearing aids
    by-dlg_images-flickr-cc

    #2 - Have an emergency plan.

    Does your physical disability require the use of a service pet or caregiver assistance? Speak to your family, physician, and caregiver about an emergency plan in the even that there is bad winter weather or power outages.

    Consider nearby shelters, or hospitals that can accommodate your special needs should an emergency arise. Be sure that your neighbors are included and are aware of your needs, just in case assistance is needed.

    #3 - Avoid going outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

    In icy conditions, it is best to remain indoors. Roads are unsafe to drive on , and even if you feel confident in your driving abilities, you may not be able to predict the behavior of other drivers when there is inclement weather present.

    #4 - Keep your cell phone charged.

    Know that bad weather is on the way? Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. It may be helpful to have a backup battery for your cell phone just in case. Never charge your phone in your vehicle with the garage door closed.

    #5 - Be aware of the needs of your service pet.

    Just like humans, dogs can suffer frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid venturing outside, and avoid letting your dog outside for extended periods of time. If you do find yourself on the road, be sure to keep an extra blanket and extra water for your service dog.

    #6 - Dress in layers.

    When bad weather hits during the weather, it is always best to be dressed in layers in case the power goes out or in the event that you have to be evacuated from your home.

    #7 - Have a list of emergency numbers handy.

    Keep a list of important phone numbers handy. While it is great to include these phone numbers in your cell phone, it is best to also have them written down in a phone book and safely stored nearby (in case the power goes out or your cell phone dies).

    Be sure to let your emergency contacts know that they are your emergency contacts.

    #8 - Winterize your handicap van.

    Be one step ahead of any winter weather situation by making sure the gas tank in your handicap van is kept full. A full gas tank will help keep your fuel line from freezing.

    #9 - Consider alternative heating methods.

    Have a wood burning fireplace in your home? Make sure you keep your fireplaces and other heating sources cleaned and inspected regularly. In the event that the power is out for an extended period of time, you may be able to use alternate heating sources.

    #10 - Keep sand, kitty litter, or rock salt handy.

    Patios, front door areas, driveways, sidewalks, steps, etc. are all danger zones for people with and without physical disabilities whenever winter weather hits. Having sand, salt, or kitty litter to spread down can give more traction and prevent nasty falls.

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