PhotoFor many people, the arrival of the holiday season means increased numbers of people trooping through their homes.

If you're among them, you'll want to make sure your home is inviting and safe for your guests. To help prepare your home for visitors, the remodelers at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offer tips designed to increase safety and accessibility for older family members and friends who visit.

“Welcoming loved ones to your home is a cherished holiday tradition,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner, a remodeler from Newport News, Virginia. “By making some simple home modifications, you can ensure that family and friends will enjoy a comfortable visit and be able to maneuver around your house without trouble this year.”

What to do

Here are some tips that the NAHB Remodelers say will help eliminate situations that could cause stress for visitors with age-related balance and vision issues, and at the same time create a safer, more comfortable environment for all your guests:

  • Secure area rugs with non-slip pads or double-sided carpet tape so that they are snug to the floor. Temporarily remove throw rugs, including bathroom mats, to prevent guests from tripping on the edges.
  • Check that stair railings inside and out are tightly fastened. Make repairs where needed.
  • Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, hallways, and perhaps in the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within reach of the guest bed so that your visitor can keep a light on until safely tucked in. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are also key for coming or going when it is dark.
  • Rake leaves, salt for ice, and shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways to prevent falls.
  • Add non-slip treads or a mat to the shower. Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip floor. To enhance traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat.
  • Choose the best seat for your guests' comfort -- not too high, not too low. A firm cushion can prevent them from sinking too low into the seat, and arms can help a person easily get up and down.
  • Move objects or even furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Secure cords to the wall or baseboards with hooks to prevent tripping. Clear stair steps of any objects, such as shoes, books, and other personal items that tend to collect on the lower treads.

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