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AIPatHome.com - Age in Place at Home - It's Where You Want to Be.

September 2009

A leading resource for people who are searching for products, services, information and reassurance to better age in place.

AIP Bulletin

Quote of the Month

"While lecturing to a packed auditorium during a technology conference at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I joked that my beautiful emerald-green 1938 Remington portable typewriter was actually a laptop that printed while you typed. "

John Hockenberry, Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab
15 Simple Solutions to Home Safety Challenges by Adam Fine

International Accessibility Expert Adam Fine

Adam Fine, President
Accessible Design & Consulting

Many times a lot of us are faced with both physical and/or safety challenges in our home. We think nothing of paying insurance premiums for our car, home or even healthcare. However, we need to go a step further to insure the safety of our health within the walls of our own homes. The following challenges are typically where most safety and challenge areas are most likely to occur in the home.

Challenge #1: Difficulty getting up from a seated position from a chair or sofa

Solution: Furniture risers can lift the legs of a couch up 3-4 inches (typically we will put 4” risers on the back legs of a sofa and 3” risers on the front legs of a sofa).

Solution: Reclining lift chairs can move a person from a reclining position to a standing position with the touch of a button.

Solution: An electric seat assist is best used on a sofa or seat with a softer cushion.

Challenge #2: Getting in/out of bed

Solution: A bedrail/bedcane slides easily between the mattress and box spring of most beds. A bed pull-up strap will also enable someone pull up (or turn to the side) of a bed from a prone position.

Challenge #3: Stepping safely into the shower becomes too dangerous

Solution: Raising the shower pan (from the inside of the shower) with hard plastic porous tiles and entry ramp can solve this challenge (“Lego Tiles”).

Solution: Grab bars – placing two grab bars one horizontally and one vertically in the shower can provide good leverage and prevent a slip or fall.

Solution: Non-Slip Strips

Challenge #4: Getting into/out of a bathtub

Solution: If you love to take baths, an electric bath lift is a very safe and very effective to get you safely into and out of a bathtub.

Challenge #5: Toilet is too low and there is difficulty in getting up and/or off, or difficulty transferring from a wheelchair

Solution: A toilet spacer installed underneath the base of the toilet can elevate the entire toilet a full 3 1/2 inches (fits the majority of toilets).

Solution: A grab bar (usually installed on a 45 degree angle) on one side of the toilet (typically installed on the wall where the arm strength is stronger i.e., right side).

AIPatHome: Kohler

Challenge #6: Walking up or down stairs is difficult or dangerous

Solution: A straight or curved stairlift or an elevator. There are some elevators that do not require a shaft.

Challenge #7: Walkway to home has steps making it difficult to enter with a wheelchair or walker

Solution: A portable suitcase ramp or a roll-up ramp ranging from 2 to 10 feet in length can be a possible solution. Other custom ramps with handrails can also be permanently installed in wood, concrete or aluminum (prices vary depending on the height of the porch or landing.

Challenge #8: Doorways are too narrow to enter with either a walker or a wheelchair

Solution: Swing-away hinges (both residential and commercial sizes are available) are both inexpensive and easy to install on any door. You can widen the doorway up to two full inches to allow walkers or wheelchairs to move safely through without scraping walls or knuckles!

Challenge #9: Difficulty getting into, or out of an automobile

Solution: An automobile standing support lever that fits into the locking mechanism of most cars and acts as a lever to push down on when getting into, or out of an automobile.

Challenge #10: Wanting portability in an electric scooter

Solution: Portable scooters are easy to handle and can give you the freedom to have more independence in your life. Great for indoor or outdoor use and they will give you approximately 10 miles to a single charge.

Adam Fine is the founder and president of Accessible Design & Consulting, Inc. specializing in residential & commercial accessibility assessment, ADA consulting, and Accessible project management.

In Case You Missed It - Some Recent Posts On Our Blog


David Ellis writing for Health Futures Digests reports on remote monitoring systems that can be digested and worn. You can read about these and other devices on our blog and then, if you're feeling really geeky, there's a link to the full story that discusses computer storage, nanofabrics, and implants.


Tomco Company, Inc.
Quality Construction
Since 1979

Click Here to Read: Remote Healthcare Monitors In The Works

Universal Design + Technology

"How about connecting the aging in place home owner to the outside world?" asks Laurie Orlov as she comments on the increased awareness of universal design housing and the need to apply that to technology used in the home.

Click Here to Read: Universal Design Principles Applied to Technology in the AIP Home

Lifestyle Adjustments

“Worsening eyesight makes finding items more frustrating, arthritis complicates browsing and reduced balance intensifies the strain of stooping or reaching for products,” reports Ellen Byron for the Wall Street Journal. Bigger type faces, better lighting and improved shelf labeling are some of the solutions being implemented by retailers.

Click Here to Read: “Seeing Store Shelves Through Senior Eyes”.

 Talk Back

Re: A Look Ahead: Whole House Remodel

"It looks like the site is going very well. Good work! One thing. .... The ADA is a set of strict prescriptions that apply to public and commercial spaces. The ADA has nothing whatsoever to do with houses. Multi family housing must comply with the fair housing act, still that is completely different and totally unrelated to the ADA."

Louis Tenenbaum, CAPS, CAASH
Independent Living Strategist

Editor's Note: He is correct. The remodel is better described as Universal Design. We apologize for our error.

Re: Bulletin

"I find the AIPatHome Bulletin informative and helpful. I especially enjoy photographs. .... I am 55 years old and my husband is 56. My 84 year old father lives with us. We just built a home in Pennsylvania. The home has many features which will allow us to remain in it for the remainder of our lives. Should we need them, we can accommodate caregivers. We installed an elevator shaft for an elevator to the basement (elevator will be installed in a year or two), although all main living will be on the first floor. The showers are walk-in with handheld as well as mounted shower heads and grab bars. The front door, hallways, doorways, and bathrooms can accommodate wheelchairs. We installed more lighting than anyone should ever need! There are huge windows in every room to combat the winter blues. Radiant floor heating is throughout the home. There are no steps to the front door. I could go on and on! Our builders, who are in their 30’s, were outstanding. I just had to keep telling them to imagine me 30 years older in a wheelchair!"

Thank you,

Talk to Us

Your rants, raves, suggestions and stories are always welcome...especially the raves!  Seriously, tell us what we can do to help bring you the information and access to other resources you need to best age-in-place, in the home and community of your choice.  Send your comments and stories to talktous@aipathome.com.

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