Alterations to a home help seniors

Vision loss

*Clearly mark with white or reflecting tape hazardous changes in floor levels.

*Adjust the illumination throughout your home. Use higher-wattage light bulbs where appropriate.

Hearing loss

*Carpet the floors and put curtains in windows to reduce sharp noises and distracting echoes.

*If necessary, purchase hearing aids, special-needs phones, vibrating alarm clocks, an amplified TV set or flashing lights to announce information and warnings.

Hand limitations

For people with arthritis or other dexterity-limiting conditions:

*Install larger lever-type controls on faucets, door latches and appliance knobs. Modify an existing knob control by fitting a rubber furniture leg cap over the control and inserting a small wooden dowel through it to create a level arm.

*To determine whether a control can be used by a person with a dexterity problem, try this rule of thumb: If an able-bodied person can operate the control with his or her fist closed, then almost anyone, regardless of hand disability, will be able to operate the control.

Disorientation and dizziness

*Use furnishings that are stable and without sharp corners to minimize the effects of a fall.

*Remove scatter rugs, sharp objects and clutter, but retain the layout of familiar furniture and pathways.

Mobility impairments

*Relocate bedrooms and living spaces onto the same level.

*Store frequently used household items where they can be retrieved with a minimum of bending, reaching, lifting and carrying.