Over the next two weeks, many of us are going to be going to holiday parties at friends homes or just dropping by to wish them a great holiday and offer encouragement for the year ahead. We might be entertaining in our own homes as well. This is the perfect time to be aware of safety issues.
Remaining safe in and around our homes is a constant challenge, but as an independent observer of homes we might be visiting, we have an advantage. We can see things that need attention (often able to be addressed without much effort and no expense) and use that as a reference point for meeting with and advising people in the future who are interested in selling their homes or having them remodeled.
We wouldn't want to call out safety issues - unless they are severe in our estimation, and only then from our role as a professional - to the attention of our host out of respect for their feelings. However, there might be a time to address it later.
Still, it gives our eyes practice in noticing and observing things that aren't as they should or could be. Speaking of which, we should begin at home and make sure that our own homes are safe for anyone to visit from neighbors, visitors, relatives, or delivery people. We shouldn't expect others to do what we are unwilling to do.
Safety takes on many forms, but the most obvious places to begin are with things that might create a tripping or falling hazard from a loss of balance. This can be a cracked or uneven sidewalk, steps that aren't solid, roots or plants growing across walkways, toys or tools lying about, garden hoses (or extension cords from holiday lights) stretched across the sidewalk, loose rugs or flooring, areas that aren't lit well enough or where the bulbs are bulbed out, and so much more. Once we start looking, there is a lot to take in.
Let's do our part to make this a safe holiday season for everyone.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging in place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.