Tips for home improvement

These suggestions to make life easier at home, both for the young and old.

Compensating for reduced range of motion

* Move electrical switches and thermostats no higher than 48 inches above the floor and electrical outlets no lower than 27 inches.

* Use Lazy Susans, rolling carts under counters, pull-out shelves with cut-out bowl holders and height-adjustable cabinets and closet shelves.

* Use bathroom and kitchen sitting stools, fold-down stools in the shower, cut-out spaces under counters and sinks and grab bars in the bathroom.

* Vary the height of countertops to place some counter space within reach of all household members sitting or standing.

Compensating for reduced strength

* Adjust tension to assist with opening and closing storm, screen and some cabinet doors. Place rolling storage carts under counters.

* Install C- or D-shaped loop handles on drawers and cabinets. Use easy-gliding hardware for drawers, and use spray attachments with extra-long hoses for sinks.

Aids for mobility and agility

* Build more aesthetically pleasing berms instead of ramps.

* Widen and rebuild doorways with lower thresholds, swing-clear door hinges and levered handles.

* Use sidewalk curb cut-outs and high-density, low-pile carpeting. Transform downstairs rooms into bedrooms, add roll-in showers and handheld shower heads to ground floor bathrooms.

Balance and coordination help

* Secure the corners and edges of area rugs and remove throw rugs.

* Install extended dual handrails and use lowered beds and raised chairs and toilet seats. Secure support objects near chairs, toilets and beds.

* Strategically placed handles on countertops and enhanced lighting are also helpful.

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