With just a small investment in time and a few dollars, you can make your home safer and more comfortable by following these do-it-yourself tips. All of the home modification suggestions below are easily implemented by you, the homeowner, and do not require the services of a professional contractor. So why wait? Modify your home today and feel happier and more secure.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: All Rooms
- Keep emergency numbers (911, doctor, relatives, neighbors) in large print near each phone.
- Arrange furniture to create unobstructed pathways and strategically place heavy, sturdy furniture pieces for resting and support.
- Try to create bright, uniform lighting by adding lights to dark areas and changing light bulbs to a higher wattage (without exceeding manufacturer's maximum).
- Ensure ample reading and task lights in the bedroom, kitchen and living room; consider under-counter lights and natural spectrum desktop or magnifier floor lamps.
- Remove personal items, decorations and any clutter on floors, tables and counters.
- Clean out and reorganize contents of closets, cabinets, shelves and pantries for easy access of the most frequently used items.
- Remove throw rugs, but if you can't part with them, secure with double-sided tape, tacks or a non-skid mat.
- Remove or rearrange electrical cords and extension cords that interfere with pathways.
- Make sure electrical outlets are not overloaded with plugs; consider switching to a surge protector.
- Make sure smoke/carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries, are in working order and are placed near bedroom, kitchen and utility area where your boiler, furnace, hot water heater and washer/dryer may be located.
- Keep a working fire extinguisher in the home that is easily accessible, preferably near the kitchen, and know how to operate it.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: Kitchen
- Move frequently used small appliances to the counter or waist-height cupboard and near an outlet.
- Consider upgrading to small appliances with an automatic shut-off feature such as a coffee maker, electric kettle, toaster oven and iron.
- Reduce the risk of fire around the stovetop area by relocating potentially flammable fabrics such as curtains, aprons and dish towels; and refrain from wearing clothing with billowy or wide sleeves when cooking on the stove.
- Reduce the risk of burns by placing a heat-resistant surface near the stove, oven and microwave for placing hot pans and dishes; keep potholders and mitts handy.
- If you must use a step stool, make sure your foot stool has a support handle and never use a chair in place of a step stool.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: Living Room
- Make sure curtains and shades are easy to operate; and consider adding sheers to reduce glare.
- Upgrade to a lighted, big-button universal remote control to easily operate the television and entertainment system.
- Make sure your favorite chair or sofa is easy to sit down in and get up from, and has sturdy arms for support; otherwise consider a lift chair or uplift seat device.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: Bedroom
- Use a sturdy nightstand with ample surface for a lamp, phone, glasses and water; use a drawer to store a flashlight and extra batteries.
- Use nightlights with sensors that illuminate your path from your bed to the bathroom and to the hallway.
- Have a sturdy chair with arms in your dressing area for support and comfort while putting on shoes, socks, pants, jewelry, etc.
- Ensure your bed is high enough to get in and out of easily; consider adding sturdy wooden risers and remove casters.
- If possible, consider relocating your bedroom to the first floor of your home.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: Bathroom
- Install non-slip strips or a suction-cup bath mat on the floor inside the shower and tub.
- Place a non-slip, absorbent floor mat outside the shower and tub to soak up excess water and dry the bottom of your feet.
- Consider using DIY suction cup grab bars with green-light safety indicator, a tub rail and bath transfer bench or bath lift inside the tub.
- Install an elevated toilet seat with support arms to help with sitting and standing.
- Make sure toilet paper is comfortably within reach and extra rolls are handy in case you run out; consider installing an L-shaped holder that makes changing the roll easy.
Top DIY Tips For Home Safety: Exterior
- Mount battery-operated, motion-detector lights outside to illuminate doors and walkways.
- Make sure address numbers are visible at all exterior doors and easily seen from the street in the event of an emergency.
- Clean garage floor to remove slick spots, pick up any sharp objects (nails, screws, shovels) and use a non-slip floor mat to wipe moisture and debris off shoes and boots before entering the home.
- Clear a path, free of overgrown grass, bushes and shrubs, to a sturdy mailbox that is easy to open and close.
- Make sure garden tools are easily reached from a flat-footed stance; and use a retractable reel to keep hoses coiled.
- Consider hiring a local service for wintertime ice and snow removal, spring and summer yard maintenance and fall leaf removal and gutter cleaning.
For more extensive home modifications such as ramps, grab bars, curbless showers, recessed lighting and wider doorways, just to name a few, hire a reputable company that is certified in aging-in-place solutions.