Article written by Tom Pellegrin of Third Coast Builders
Appeared in Houston Chronicle on Friday, November 27, 2015
To help prepare your home for holiday visitors, the Remodelers Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers home maintenance tips that are designed to increase safety and accessibility for older family and friends who visit this holiday season.
Welcoming loved ones to your home is a cherished holiday tradition. By making some simple home modifications, you can ensure that family and friends will enjoy a comfortable visit and be able to maneuver around your house without trouble this year.
These tips will help eliminate situations that could cause stress for visitors with age-related balance and vision issues, and at the same time create a safer, more comfortable environment for all your guests.
- Secure rugs and carpets. Secure area rugs with non-slip pads or double-sided carpet tape so that they are snug to the floor. Temporarily remove throw rugs, including bathroom mats, to prevent guests from tripping on the edges.
- Test stair railings Check that stair railings inside and out are tightly fastened. Make repairs where needed.
- Turn up the lights Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, hallways and perhaps in the kitchen.
- Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within reach of the guest bed so that your visitor can keep a light on until safely tucked in. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are also key for coming or going when it is dark.
- Clear outdoor walkways Rake leaves and clear other debris from sidewalks and driveways to prevent falls.
- Add non-slip treads or a mat to the shower Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip surface. To enhance traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat.
- Offer the best seat Choose the best seat for your guest’s comfort – not too high, not too low.
- A firm cushion can prevent them from sinking too low into the seat, and arms can help a person easily get up and down.
- Declutter Move objects or even furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Secure cords to the wall or baseboards with hooks to prevent tripping.
- Clear stair steps of any objects – shoes, books and other personal items that tend to collect on the lower treads.
If you are considering larger home renovation projects or want to do more to make your home safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities, consult a professional remodeler.