“Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”
Remember when our kids were little, and we put those light socket covers in all the outlets? Heaven forbid our precious toddlers stick a fork in a socket like we did. Or bump their tiny noggins on the raised brick hearth. Or overdose on orange-flavored Baby Aspirin and have to get their stomachs pumped like my cousin, Jane. Damn, those were tasty. But I digress – my focus now is on the Care and Feeding of Old People, aka geezers.
There are several ways to geezer proof your house that don’t involve light sockets or Baby Aspirin. Here are just a few:
- Railing on porches and steps – DooDaddy’s housewarming gift for the Westwood Cottage was wrought-iron railing for the front porch. Two small steps for most folks, but a treacherous mountain for geezers to climb. And the hard part is coming back down. With a walker, any steps are problematic, but it’s an easy fix. Better safe than sorry, because all geezers know they’re just a fall away from never getting up again.
- A big comfy chair with arms – Chairs with no arms are geezer hazards. After strokes and seizures, geezers are trained to reach back with one hand for the arm of the chair while still holding onto the walker with the other hand. It’s a technique that prevents broken hips and cracked tailbones. Every time we go to a restaurant, and DooDaddy tries to lower himself into an armless chair, I hold my breath. See “Rotary reunion: where geezers meet governors” for more on the perils of sitting down and standing up. I’m happy to say that I have a Big Comfy Chair from Bliss with sturdy arms and a high back that suits DooDaddy to a tee. Perfect for holding court and cocktails.
- A wide clear path around furniture – Throw rugs are hazardous, and dog toys are downright deadly. Don’t let your geezer try to navigate between the coffee table and the sofa. Lead him around the back of the room and right up to the aforementioned Big Comfy Chair. Move furniture if you have to, but clear a path as wide as a walker from room to room.
- Handrails in bathrooms – I haven’t gone this far with Westwood yet, but we’re traveling down south to Jax for Christmas with Brother Randy, and my friend and fellow geezer wrangler Liz (see “Who says you can’t go home again?“) is going to lend us portable suction-cupped rails so DooDaddy can take a shower. Imma get him a bathing suit for modesty, so Mac Bower can help him get in and out. Maybe we’ll even bring a lawn chair in from outside to simulate the shower seat he has at Shannondale. All the comforts of (The) Home, right?
- Never serve cornbread – Cornbread is a choking hazard for geezers. Don’t tell me yours isn’t dry as a bone and crumbly as chalk. I won’t believe you. DooDaddy was forever warning his friend Ron, may he rest in peace, to take smaller bites and sips of water in between mouthfuls of cornbread. I find myself doing the same thing with DooDaddy. I wouldn’t eat cornbread if I were starving on a desert island, but apparently it’s food porn for geezers.
Doodaddy came for supper the other night, and I made spaghetti casserole instead of spaghetti, because it’s hard for geezers to get saucy noodles to their mouths without wearing them on their tummies. DooDaddy only uses his bib clips at The Home, a handy trick he learned from Ron. Also only two drinks – vodka with a twist and a splash – because any more can make a geezer a might unsteady on his feet, and that walker is liable to slide right out from under him, no banana peel necessary.
So there you have it, five easy steps to geezer proof your house. And while you’re at it, no nuts in the brownies, k?