Picture this: you arrive home late from a long day at work, you have an armful of groceries along with the mail and your trying to turn that door knob and get in without dropping everything. Sounds pretty routine doesn't it? It would be much easier if the door had a lever style handle that you could just push down. Also a wider doorway would add to your convenience. These are prime examples of making a home more comfortable while allowing the inhabitants to live safely even as they get older.
Before you stop reading because your age is just barely past 40, remember that many families deal with members who have disabilities that are compounded by a home design created without regard to the challenges of living disabled. Younger buyers and families with young children are also attracted to homes that feature "Universal Design."
According to the American Association of Retired People, more than 90% of people over 50 do not want to move from their home when they retire. It seems being retired does not necessarily mean moving out of your current home to move into a retirement community. Fortunately there are many simple upgrades that will create a safer and more comfortable home for every age. You need only shop the local hardware store for most of the items that will make your home universe more friendly.
Here's a list to get you started:
- Lighten and Brighten: use brighter bulbs in all settings- vision can dim if cataracts or other eye issues make navigating a home more hazardous
- Get a Handle on it: shop the "knobs and handles" section of the Home Depot or Lowe's for easy to grab handles and put them on drawers and cabinets
- Raging Rugs: falls in and around the home would be greatly decreased with the simple use of double sided tape to hold rugs and carpets in place
- Bench Mark It: the front/back entry- place a simple bench by the front entrance to place groceries and other items on while you unlock the front /back door
- Reflect on it- non-slip, reflective tape on non-carpeted stairs will go a long way toward sure footing and preventing accidents
- You light up my night- by placing night lights along commonly used paths through the house, especially those to the bathrooms and kitchen
- Hand me that rail- don't just put railing on one side of the staircase- consider putting a rail on the other side also to make for more secure ascent and descent of staircases
For more ways to make your home a friendly Universe, google search "Universal Design and Safety." If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Berkshires or Williamson consider looking for or installing these simple fixes and then emphasize the Universal Design of your property. Also consider purchasing the book Revitalizing Your Home by Mary Baker to find more useful tips.