Doorway Hazard Solutions for Safe Use

This article has solutions suggestions for the trip hazards that may appear around your doorways. There is an earlier article, “Safe Doorway Checklist”, that will help you inspect your doorways for unsafe conditions.

(Printable version of this list)

Sidewalks

If your sidewalk is full of cracks, dips and trip hazards, it is time to replace, repair, or remove the sidewalk.  Discuss the options with a concrete contractor. It might be better to build a permanent ramp way of concrete to your front door.   Or, you can assemble a portable aluminum ramp to your front door. Ramps can be portable or permanent!  Look at our ramp selections here on the website by clicking on “Ramps” on the home page.

Keep the sidewalk or ramp clean during icy weather. There are chemicals which you can use to remove ice and snow, so you don’t have to shovel it up.  Our article, “Slippery Ramps and Wheelchairs” names some chemicals and other ways to clear ice and snow off aluminum, wooden and concrete surfaces in bad weather.

Lighting

Adequate lighting is important for your safety and your home security. Ask for help in replacing burned out bulbs if you need to do so. An overhead light and a light that lights up the whole entry area can be quite helpful. If you cannot afford an electrician to wire electrical improvements in the entry area, see if you could place a wireless battery- operated motion-activated light near your front door to light up the area.

Steps

If your steps are not safe, then hire a contractor to repair, replace or remove them.  This is for your safety and the safety of anyone who might come to your door.  If you use a wheelchair or a walker, don’t try to “climb” stairs in your chair or your walker!  For your safety in an emergency or fire at your house, you must have at least one, but preferably, two ways to get out of your house.

Ramps are the best answer for a walker and wheelchair users and for seniors in general. Ramps can be wooden, metal or concrete. They can be temporary or permanent and they can even be portable.

Read the article “Wheelchair Ramp Considerations” to help you choose one for your situation.

Railings  

Surround your steps with railings on both sides. Railings can be attached to a wall or can be anchored on poles in the ground.  They can be wooden or metal.  See our blog “Porch Steps for Senior Safety” for more details on both porch steps and railings around steps.

Porch or Landing

If the landing or porch is too small for a person and an open door, then a fall hazard is definitely present. Is the porch dangerous as it is now?  Could you enlarge or redesign the landing?  Could the door swing inside instead of outside?   Get a ramp and attach it to the porch?  These are the questions to ask, and get professional advice about what is safe for your particular abilities and environment.  A senior’s capability and the existing porch environment should be assessed by a physical therapist or an occupational therapist.  If modifications are needed, then seek out a handyman or contractor to make improvements.

Security 

A sticking door is not just an inconvenience; it can cause injury when   you try to force it open. A door that hangs open and won’t stay closed might slam against you when you least expect it. You should call a handyman who can figure out the problem and fix it.   Our article “Household safety for a homebound senior,”   instructs  family and friends to  check for household hazards  when they visit a senior so little annoyances like these can be fixed before an accident happens.

Obstacles

Train your dog not to jump up on anyone – it’s frightening to some people and the dog may accidentally knock someone down, or trip someone.

 

If clutter interferes with entering, then clear it away.  Find a better place to store it, manage it, or discard things. You must have a safe way to enter and exit your home in an emergency particularly.

For some ideas about handling clutter, read our blog, “Clutter – a safety issue for seniors.”

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