Spring Has Sprung: How to Get Outside and Enjoy the Warmer Weather…Safely!

 group of older people enjoying the outdoors

After a long winter, we understand the desire to get outside and enjoy some warmer weather. Many of our snow-birds who travel south for the winter will return home soon, and outdoor enthusiasts are eager to get outside and be active. Egress from the home is easily one of the largest areas of focus for us here at Oakley Home Access. In today’s blog we are going to discuss what we consider the four major home modifications that can help provide safe egress from your home. Additionally, we would also like to discuss some tips and recommendations that cost absolutely nothing and can lead to a safer outdoor experience. 

Oakley Home Access specializes in Maximizing Mobility for older adults and those with mobility impairments. We also specialize in fall prevention and aim to reduce hospitalizations and nursing home stays as related to a fall. We believe that safe egress from the home is paramount to not only safety, but also quality of life. A safe form of egress will result in more regular doctors visits, more social participation and leisure activities, and reduced stress knowing that in case of an emergency, you have a safe exit from the home. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge in this space that generally breaks down into four categories.

  • Railings and Handrails: Proper hand railings and railing systems are a critical first step in home egress. We offer a range of railing systems and have options to match the style of your home, but also more budget conscious options as well that our expert technicians can fabricate out of simple materials. Railings are critical in fall prevention for more active clients. Do not wait until AFTER the fall to have hand railings installed. Another critical piece is that we can assess your existing hand railings and railing systems. Unfortunately, many clients have older, rusted, and loose systems that fail them on the day they are actually needed. 

  • Ramps: Our aluminum modular ramp systems are a great way to provide access for clients who may be utilizing assistive devices or have difficulty navigating stairs. These systems are completely modular, and can be customized to your house in a matter of hours. They are maintenance free and can be removed just as quickly as they were installed with little to no permanent changes to your home. For clients who may be just renting a home for the summer or are having a temporary setback, we can also rent these systems at an affordable rate.

  • Exterior Stairlifts: Exterior lifts are one of our secret weapons for home access. For houses that cannot accommodate the length of a ramp, an exterior stairlift is a great way to get in and out of the home. These lifts can be purchased or rented, are completely weatherized, and mount directly into the stairs. As long as a client can safely transfer on and off the lift, an exterior stairlift can be more affordable and less intrusive into a yard than a ramp. One of our assessors would help you weigh the pros and cons of a ramp vs an exterior stairlift and ensure that the decision is right for you. 

  • Vertical Platform Lifts: The perfect combination of an exterior stairlift and a ramp. These vertical platform lifts (VPL) utilize a much smaller footprint than a ramp, but also still have the benefit of an electric motor to help make egress easier. A user would simply walk or wheel onto the platform, and in a matter of seconds they would ascend to the height of the door and enter barrier free. Some additional benefits of a VPL would be that there are no additional transfers required, and you do not need to navigate up a long ramp. While there is some additional site prep required, Oakley Home Access will help coordinate all elements of the project and ensure a smooth installation. 

With one of these four options, we are confident that we can make almost any home accessible. As we approach spring, it may give you peace of mind to know what options exist for your unique home. If you’d like to schedule a Free Home Safety Assessment with one of our assessors, you can submit an online inquiry, or call our showroom at 401.429.3882. Additionally you can check out our website, Facebook, and Instagram for some of our recently completed projects and examples of the aforementioned equipment. 

We’d like to close out today’s blog with some additional recommendations that cost absolutely nothing, but could help prevent falls and injury when exiting the home and enjoying the outdoors.

  • Be Mindful of weather: Rain is never far away during the spring and early summer season. It’s important to know the forecast and to plan ahead. Rain can create muddy and slippery conditions that often lead to falls. 
  • Be Mindful of clothing: Dress for success! Supportive footwear with a non-slip bottom can help prevent twisting ankles on uneven surfaces and slipping on slick surfaces.
  • Make your schedule known: If you are planning to enjoy a day out in the community, or perhaps a day out in the yard, it is important that loved ones know your schedule. We have seen countless stories of clients falling in the backyard, only to not be found for several hours to days. This gap in time can greatly increase the severity of a fall or injury. Letting loved ones or friends know your schedule will help them be able to locate you, and prompt them to check in throughout the day to ensure everything is okay. 
  • Bring your devices: This can apply to assistive devices such as a cane, walker, or rollator, as well as to technology such as a cell phone or alert button. These devices will help prevent falls, and also help call for help in the unfortunate event of a fall. 
  • Start Slow: After a long winter inside your home, it is likely that you may have experienced some deconditioning. For that reason it is important to start slowly and gradually build up your activities outside the home to ensure you have the endurance to complete the activity safely. 
  • Ask for Help: If you have any hesitation on safely navigating your yard or your community, reach out to friends and family to accompany you. Let’s rebuild those relationships that may have grown more distant during COVID-19 times and enjoy the outdoors face-to-face. 

Oakley Home Access is your trusted resource for all things related to home modifications and accessibility. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Be Safe!