“Aging In Place Means Being Safe In Our Homes”

Our homes are our safety zone – a place where we are comfortable, relatively safe, free from potential injury, and where we should be at ease and able to retreat from the pressures and dangers of the outside world.

People want to be safe in their space

People consider renovating their homes for many reasons, including updating the look and feel, adding newer appliances, enlarging the living space, improving the flooring or lighting, and just making the home seem more livable for them. We get to help them do this, and we get the satisfaction of seeing how the results match their needs.

Regardless of what is desired by the client and what we end up recommending or they select to do on their own, safety is the overriding concept that needs to apply. The recent response to the pandemic illustrated how important it is for people to be safe in their living space because they found themselves suddenly being in their homes throughout much of the day and for days at a time.

They didn’t have the luxury of getting ready to stay in their homes long-term and to make sure their homes were safe to be in. They had to get ready essentially with no advance notice.

Being ready to be safe

Since people often, as in the case of experiencing the pandemic from inside their homes, don’t really consider many of the important aspects of occupying their home long-term ahead of time, we need to help them manage this aspect of successful aging in place.

Safety rises above all other concerns in the home – navigating the home (hallways, stairs and steps, and doorways) involves being safe while doing so, using appliances, cabinets, and plumbing fixtures need to be done in a safe way, and the other activities we conduct while in our homes musty be performed safely.

We expect to find safety and security in large measure in our homes although small incidents (cuts and bruises) are just part of life.

Getting to the action stage

While we appreciate the importance of safety inside our own homes and those of our clients and the marketplace in general, getting people to act to improve the safety of their homes may not be such an easy task.

People often will continue living in their homes without addressing safety issues until an event happens that really draws attention to one or more unsafe and unhealthy conditions in their home. They might tolerate or cope with loose flooring, poor lighting, hard to use hardware, faucets that are difficult or uncooperative to operate, bathroom fixtures that are inconvenient to use, too few or poorly placed electrical outlets, inadequate storage, and other aspects of their home that can be easily remedied but are generally not acted upon until it becomes clear that their safety is at risk without making those changes.

People tend to act when they realize that continuing to ignore unsafe living conditions in their home is putting themselves or visitors in jeopardy. Generally, they are going to need our help to do this, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be done all at once – depending on what is involved. Nevertheless, getting started is a league step in the right direction.

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