January 23, 2018

10-Minute Improvements


“I did not know that!” There are many steps one takes toward becoming a universal design environment and many are as simple as a trip to the store or a few simple changes in the home. Many are common-sense improvements which contribute to your home working with greater ease.

  • Increase light output by using highest wattage bulb allowed by manufacturer; have two-bulb fixtures as often as possible and you will still have light even when one bulb burns out.
  • Create a place where you can sit comfortably and have everything within reach including ample light, phone, TV and remote, radio/music, computer, tissues, wastebasket, beverage & snacks, reading & writing materials, and medications.
  • Install more phones especially bathroom and next to bed; look for large illuminated text screens.
  • Consider removing upper cabinet doors in the kitchen (maybe lower ones too) and remove doors where ease of access would become an advantage (closet).
  • Add night lights for dark rooms and hallways.
  • Add non-slip stickers to slippery areas such as outdoor steps, bathtub, shower and even slippery indoor floors (non-slip mats are good too).
  • Reorganize stuff: put the frequently used items within easy access (lower closet bar); remove that which is no longer used.
  • Replace items that are hard to use with ones that are easy to use; Oxo products, such as GoodGrips, update many common kitchen utensils with bigger handles, smarter design and lower strength requirements.
  • If the bathroom mirror is poorly positioned, add a second adjustable mirror.
  • Raise the toilet seat with a raiser attachment; install a grab bar (the toilet paper holder isn’t a grab bar).
  • Journal! Collect additional tips, resources, photographs and contacts. Use the journal to ask and answer, “What is the modification that would improve/restore livability?” Record the improvements you would like to make, why they seem to address the problem, and, what you see as the problem. This is a journal you might keep for years until the big day when you renovate, relocate or build a new home.
  • Improve your computer work station: adjustable chair with armrests, raised monitor, glare-free lighting, straight posture, feet flat on floor, forearms sloping slightly down to the keyboard (laptops are pretty much a disaster for your body).
  • Remove hazardous throw-rugs that are easily tripped on. If keeping throw-rugs; use double-sided carpet tape to hold them in place.
  • Tidy-up other trip hazards such as extension cords.
  • For round doorknobs that are hard to use, switch to or add a lever handle that fits over the existing round one; replace knobs that are hard to grab with handles that you could open with a closed fist.
  • For dark cabinets, purchase an easy-to-install battery operated light.
  • Acquire a wheeled cart to move stuff about.
  • Keep making new friends!