As we gather with family and friends during the holiday season, it is a good time to check in with those who may face mobility challenges and see how they are managing with their daily activities. Below is a checklist that highlights potential problem areas and fall hazards in the home.
If you notice any problem areas in your loved one's home, consider contacting an experienced home access provider for an accessibility assessment. Many providers will offer them free of charge and will be able to provide the right solution to fit your needs and budget.
1. Exterior Entrances and Exits
- Note condition of driveway and walkways -- Look for cracks, potholes, etc.
- Note amount of light for driveway, walkways, and porch
- Make sure bushes and shrubs do not block doorways, walkways or driveways
- Look for handrails on entryway steps and note their condition
- Check height of door threshold – Make sure user can safely step over
- Note ability to use doorknob, door locks, mailbox, etc.
2. Interior Doors, Stairs, and Hallways
- Note height of thresholds and width of interior doors – Determine which direction doors swing
- Note width of hallways and determine if they are wide enough to use walker, wheelchair, etc.
- Note if user can navigate stairway safely – Is stairway straight or curved?
- Note if stairway has proper lighting
- Note condition of stairway railings – Determine if they are properly secured
- Note height of sink and counters – Determine if user can safely reach them
- Note height of storage cabinets – Determine if they can be accessed safely
- Note if there is space for wheelchair user to navigate kitchen and use sink, oven, etc.
- Determine if user can operate sink, tub and shower faucets
- Determine ability to safely enter and exit shower or bathtub
- Determine if there is enough room for tub/shower bench, if needed
- Determine height of toilet and user’s ability to access safely – Note ability to sit, stand, reach toilet paper, flush, etc.
- Determine if there is enough space in bathroom for a caregiver, if needed
- Able to safely access washing machine/dryer
- Adequate lighting throughout home
- Working light switch for each room
- Working smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguisher