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When Is My House No Longer a Safe Environment?

Safe Environment

Over the past several years there has been a surge of multiple generations living together. The sandwich generation is literally caught between still having children at home (or supporting children in college), and now attending to the needs of aging parents. What used to be a “normal household” in the 1940s consisting of parents, grandparents and children living under one roof has now come full circle and once again seems to be a viable living arrangement!

So, what exactly constitutes a safe environment when various individuals with potential physical challenges are all under one roof? If Grandpa wants to take the toddler out for ice cream and is going to carry the little one, can he make it down the steps without an incident? Or would it be a better plan to install a lift of some sort?

Home elevators are getting lots of attention these days and are not as expensive as you think! Those who are building from the ground up would serve themselves well if they included a residential elevator in their plans. It would also cost less when building a new home with universal design at the forefront of the mind.  If a home is not properly set up for success, the safety of all residents may be at risk.

No one ever plans on having an accident, but stats show us that catastrophic injuries may be more common than you think! 45% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur because of a fall! This results in 800,000 people being hospitalized each year because of a fall that resulted in a TBI.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are about 17,730 new spinal cord injuries each year. There are currently between 249,000 and 363,000 people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) in the US today. While the average age at injury used to be 29 years old, the current average age at the time of injury is now 43.

If we could see our homes with new eyes, we may be surprised at the number of hazards that are in place! Just as one might toddler-proof their house when a two-year-old is going to visit, we should probably assess our living environments.

Here is a quick list to get you started: Home Accessibility Review
(Be sure to review both pages)

    • There are 2.8 million injuries that land someone in the ER each year due to a fall.
    • One in four adults age 65 and older fall each year.
    • Every 11 seconds an older adult is being treated in the ER because of a fall.
    • 30-50 % of those seniors fall because of something that is not safe in the home.

One of the conditions that leads to someone taking a spill is being in a home with throw rugs, broken or uneven steps. Adding handrails to both sides of the stairs can be a huge safe environment feature. Additional lighting or stronger, brighter bulbs will also help.

80% of the falls take place in the bathroom. Perhaps this is why many homeowners are opting for barrier free showers, not just grab bars!

Whether your home is a single-story, tri-level or two-story, why not make your property a safe environment? What have you got to lose? Actually, the losses can be huge by ignoring the risks we look at every day but don’t see. Your loved ones are worth making some adjustments.

If you are not sure what needs to change or what options are available, we have consultants who can advise you. If you decide to go with Gamburd, you are accessing 18+ years of expertise in Universal Design, Home Safety Modifications and Mobility Solutions. We keep accessibility simple.