By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Daily check-in for neighbors
Condo dwellers who live alone can check on one another with a simple sign or indication. A colorful greeting card in the window sends the message "I'm up, I'm here and I'm OK". In a neighborhood a house flag on a front porch works too.
Untangle cords of cell phones and power adapters
Get a charging station to keep them in order in a one-stop landing pad for all the devices. I found them sold at Staples and online. Or use a wooden bread box by drilling a hole in the back of the box for the cords.
Use Glow Tape to navigate in the dark
Apply glow tape (under $10) on routes along hallways, basement stairs and other dark passages; also around frequently used light switches.
Be prepared for a kitchen fire
For about $25 buy a fire extinguishing spray and keep it handy. It's not big and cumbersome so it's easy to handle.
Easy access to well used kitchen items
Add an inexpensive folding plastic-coated wire shelf for frequently used items on the counter. Or install a backsplash accessory like a hanging rack or shelf to store things you use everyday.
Extra storage in the bathroom
We added a metal Space Saver unit (about $35) is designed to fit over a toilet for storing extra towels and toilet tissue on reachable shelves.
Don’t slip in the tub or shower
To prevent slipping on the wet floor of a bathtub or shower stall add inexpensive adhesive safety strips, decals or a mat to prevent slipping. Use a rug with non-skid backing nearby.
Make an escape plan
Make a rough sketch of the floorplan of your house and identify two exits from every room. Decide on a safe place where everyone will meet after they've left the house to account for each other. It might be the garage or a neighbor's house.
Document emergency numbers
Make a list that’s easy to locate to keep telephone numbers for all doctors, and an ambulance that you and family members can access quickly. Make copies of the list, one for each telephone in the house, and to give to family members or caregivers who don't live there so they can put those numbers in their cell phones.
Better tissue holders
A typical spring-loaded tissue holder inevitably comes apart and drops to the floor when you try to replace an empty roll. Choose one with a different style, either a single vertical post open arm design or one with a pivoting arm; both styles make it easy to refill.
Step up instead of reaching
Don’t use a chair as a step stool because a chair is designed for sitting, not standing on. Buy a sturdy step stool, store it in a convenient location and use it when you need something that's difficult to reach.
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