Helpful Hints to make Old Doors Senior Friendly

Old Doors, New Tricks

There are many things to love about growing older – you get discounts on stuff (who doesn’t love saving 5% at grocery stores or $2 off at the movie theater!); you get great service at restaurants because you’re one of the select few in there at 5 pm for dinner; and you get to spend time beautifying the garden that you worked for 50 years to be able to afford. Awesome, right?

Something not so great about aging, however, is the toll the years take on our bodies, namely the arthritis, aching muscles and joint pain that can make functioning at full capacity difficult, if not downright impossible. Indeed, as if the resulting limited mobility wasn’t bad enough, now even the doors to get in, out and about the house won’t open for us without a struggle.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight back! Here’s a bit more on how to make the doors in your home more senior-friendly, as well as “seniorizing” other elements of the house to ease the burden on the body and aid in the transition into these later years in life to ensure they are truly golden!

Twists and Turns

One of the most difficult aspects of manipulating a door is turning or twisting the knob. If your front door and your interior doors separating rooms inside your house have doorknobs, swap them out for handles.

Levers like this one are great because they satisfy the ‘form’ and ‘function’ elements of
what you need: they look like traditional door handles, only better, because there’s no twisting or turning required. They can be attached to any door where you need to push or pull.

Avoid round doorknobs that require you to enclose within your hand and twist and also avoid the types of handles that require you to push down a latch with your thumb.

And who says you have to stick with your standard door handles? Consider turning ordinary items into unexpected and creative handles like this shovel!

The sharp tip of the shovel has been nailed into the garden door which not only prevents exposing the dangerous edge, but it also creates an angle that gives leverage to pull on the door without pulling out the handle. Delightful!

Other round knobs and tiny pulls to swap out can be found attached to cabinet doors and dresser drawers – replace these with long handles or even large rings like door knockers.

Get a Grip

For sliding doors and screen doors, summoning the upper body strength to pull the doors open is sometimes tough enough for those at their peak of physical fitness but when you add those little indentations for fingers that are supposed to be “handles,” well, you can forget it!

Even if you have an actual handle on the sliding and screen doors, you may need a bit more assistance in having something to truly grip – especially if you have issues with your hands, like arthritis.

In any event, one solution is to attach a piece of rope or a thick cord to the door or handle to increase your graspable surface area as well as the leverage you need to pull the door down the track.

Along those lines, make sure the track is clean and clear of debris that could prevent you from opening the door. If the door sticks, apply a dry Teflon lubricant like Blaster Dry Lube to the track to help the door slide easier. Oils like WD-40 will attract dirt, dust and grime over time.

Get in Gear in the Garage

For those fortunate enough to have a functioning garage, there are ways to work this workspace so it works for you.

  • Make sure the garage door is fully operational – one quick remedy for a dysfunctional garage door is to check the sensors located at the base of the doors on either side. If these become dislodged or knocked askew, they can cause the door to malfunction but a simple realignment may fix the problem.
  • Transfer items from overhead cabinets into drawers and bins at waist level or below. Raising arms and reaching up can cause pain, discomfort and damage, so the less you have to stretch or bend over, the better.
  • Grab a roll cart to help move heavier items from place to place or transfer groceries from the car into the house.
  • Ramps are not only for those with wheelchairs – even low-angled thresholds in door jambs can make coming in and out of your home easier and prevent trips and spills.

*TIP: If your garage door works but your garage door opener doesn’t operate properly – and you have replaced the batteries! – it may be time to call in some outside support. Although the door handle changes mentioned above can be done by a DIY-inclined person, when it comes to garage door openers, you should probably leave this to the professionals.

What other tips and tricks have you found to make life around the house easier?

Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor on windows and door information on Home Depot’s website.

7 Tips to Adapt your Bathroom as you Age

Post by Will Hemner

No matter how young at heart we may feel, the sad fact of life is that our bodies begin to wear out with age.  While slipping on a bathroom floor when we were younger may have resulted in a nasty bruise, now it could result in broken or even fractured bones.  There are thousands of accidents that occur in the home every year in the UK, so it is a good idea to do what we can to try to prevent injuring ourselves.

Here are some practical and affordable tips to adapt your bathroom with safety in mind:

1)     Non-slip bath mats:  whether you have a shower over the bath or a stand-alone shower, it makes practical sense to consider non–slip inner bath mats, both in the shower and in the bath.  Using shower gel and soap makes everything slippery and, therefore, is an accident waiting to happen.  Technology in bath mats has moved on apace over recent years and you can now buy anti-microbial varieties, not to mention much more attractive designs.

2)     Bath mats for the bathroom floor: stepping out of the shower or bath you should always step onto a bath mat which helps to dry the bottom of your feet.  Stepping out onto a tiled floor makes it easy to slip and fall. You should look for those with strong rubber undersides, so they can grip the bathroom tiles better.

3)     Bathroom storage units: keeping things in units is a great way to keep both them and you out of harm’s way, particularly when it comes to glass bottles which can smash on tiled floors.  The bathroom will look neat and tidy and with the huge range of bathroom units available today, you can choose from a wide selection that perfectly co-ordinates with the colors of your bathroom suite or its general style.

4)     Bathroom baskets: for those items that you need close to hand, such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and soap, bathroom baskets are ideal. They keep everything in place, preventing bottles or soaps being knocked onto the floor.  Available as wall attachments, or for standing on units or shelves, they are both practical and attractive.

5)     Safety bars: fitting safety bars in showers is a great way to prevent a fall, since you have something to hang onto, but make sure that they are able to fully support your weight. If your shower is a wet room and fully tiled, there are temporary safety bars that have powerful suction pads, which can be easily applied or removed.

6)     Adjust your commode height: Given that as you age it becomes harder to stoop and bend, you should ensure that the commode in your toilet is at an optimal height. If that is not the cases, this is easily fixed: you can either fit on an adjustable seat, or ask your plumber to install a newer model according to your specifications.

7)      Don’t lock the door: This is a grave mistake a lot of people make. If you were to have an accident or even slip in your bathroom, due to locking the door it would be difficult for help to get through. Before you use the bathroom, notify people that you are in there, and don’t lock the door, so if anything does happen, your loved ones will be able to help you faster

These are just some of the measures you can take to ensure your bathroom is safe and manageable, not just for you but also for others: no matter what age they are.

How to Be Safe on Senior Dating Sites

Post by Ellie Stevens

In today’s 2012, gone are the traditional methods of dating—nowadays, singles everywhere are heading straight for the internet in search of that special someone.  And if you happen to be a single senior who is looking for love or companionship, senior dating sites are great places to meet your match.

But because the internet provides such anonymity, it unfortunately also provides a place where financial predators, con artists and other dangerous villains wreak havoc on innocent online daters like you.  To avoid finding yourself in a potentially harmful situation, before signing up to a senior dating site, be sure to arm yourself with the following safety tips to ensure a safe and successful experience:

Keep personal information personal.  When composing your online dating profile and communicating with fellow senior singles, never give out any personally identifying details that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with in the hands of a stranger.  This includes material like your last name, home address, phone number, financial info or access to your accounts.

Take things slow.  When you meet someone over the internet who you would like to meet in person, the idea of a first date can be very exciting.  However, it is very important to take the time to get to know one another over the internet first.   Most senior dating sites allow you to build an online connection through voice chat, video chat, email, etc.  Utilize these tools to learn more about the person, watch for red flags or inconsistencies, and determine if your online friend is trustworthy enough to take things to the next level.

Plan a safe first date.  If an online relationship has progressed to the point of a face-to-face date, no matter how well you think you may know someone from your internet contact with them, you must continue to place safety as your number one priority.  Follow these tips for a safe first date:

  • Never rely on your date for transportation—use your own ride to meet your date in a crowded, public place.
  • Tell someone where you are going—let a friend or family member know your whereabouts as well as the name of your date.  Be sure to call when you arrive home and keep a cell phone handy in case you need to reach someone in an emergency.
  • Be observant of your surroundings—forgo the alcohol for the first few dates and keep an eye on your drink as well as belongings like your wallet, purse and phone.

Listen to your intuition.   If at any point you feel uncomfortable while using a senior dating site, don’t ignore that feeling.  Should your gut tell you that something is wrong while in communication with someone you met online, listen to it and cease all contact with that person.  Never be ashamed or embarrassed of your safety precautions.  Anyone who is pursuing you for the right reasons will understand and respect your need for safety.

Ellie Stevens is a guest post author who shares with us her tips for safe online dating.  In addition, Ellie also owns Best Senior Dating Sites where she provides resources for seniors looking for an online match.