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Design Tips to Make Your Home Safer

The senior population is America’s fastest-growing demographic, and the latest census forecasts the 65+ population doubling by the year 2050. (Read WHY here.) In anticipation of this, New York City’s Department for the Aging released an “Aging in Place Guide”, which outlines ways to make housing safer so that aging Americans may live at home for longer.

In a letter to readers of the guide (which was published in 2016), Mayor Bill DiBlasio writes, “Thousands of older individuals choose to “age in place,” remaining in the homes and neighborhoods they have helped build and contributed to all their lives. This guide offers a wide range of recommendations for renovations and improvements that will protect the safety of older tenants and improve the quality of life for all residents.”

The guide includes tips on making all types of housing options safer for aging adults. From floor to ceiling, and everything in between, the NYC Department for the Aging covered all the major points. Here are a few of the highlights:

TIP: Choose Appropriate Flooring Materials

› Install soft, resilient interior flooring materials such as cork, rubber, or linoleum

› These surfaces are gentler under foot than harder materials and can lessen the impact of falls

› For surfaces requiring floor wax, use a product that produces a non-glossy surface

TIP: Install Indirect Lighting

› Aim lights at a ceiling or wall surface to avoid direct eye exposure to light sources

› Use two or more fixtures to avoid shadows; for example, use wall fixtures or sconces on each side of a bathroom mirror

› Under-cabinet and task lighting can also reduce shadows

TIP: Choose the Right Hardware

› Install lever-type hardware on all exterior and interior doors. Lever-type hardware is easier to use than round knobs or handles, especially for people with arthritis

› For doors that require locks, use lever hardware that can be operated by an electronic card, requiring only a single motion with one hand to unlock and open the door

› If a traditional key is used, provide extra lighting or color contrast to make the keyhole

TIP: Use Alert Devices

› In addition to building systems, residents may wear medical alert devices

› Building owners may be able to purchase an alert system at a group rate

› Medical alert devices without GPS capabilities may result in false alarms; for example, the fire department may arrive at a resident’s apartment if she signals the device while away from home

 

Our Personal Emergency Response Systems are easy-to-use, affordable, and they can connect users with emergency help with just the push of a button. Browse our product catalogue for pricing and options, and call our team to learn more about getting your loved ones connected with an Alert Sentry system.