Many things in the home can be tucked away and stored for the perfect occasion. Whether that occasion is a holiday, entertaining guests, or reminiscing about the past - these items are important to many of us.
However, as we begin to age at home, storing these things overhead, especially in upper cabinets, can become dangerous.
In this article, we will review ways to safely store household items while maintaining accessibility and safety at home.
Changing Your Storage Habits
Making minor changes to storage around the home can significantly reduce the risk of falls at home. This might be as simple as storing items not used as often on lower shelves or installing some easy-to-use storage shelves.
Changing storage habits may also eliminate the need to use any sort of additional home modification such as a safe step stool.
If moving items to various cabinets isn't appropriate within the home, it might be wise to consider investing in a storage unit for seasonal items. Storage units can provide extra space to store things at a height that is easy to reach. And if you or a loved one is still driving or have a storage unit within walking distance, this may be a convenient option.
The last option is to consider asking for assistance in moving items. For things that may only need to be accessed once or twice per year - such as decorations or other seasonal items - it can be wise to get a time scheduled with family members or neighbors who are willing to help move items off any hard to reach cabinets.
Are step stools and ladders safe?
Step stools and ladders can be great tools for storing things, but they can also greatly increase the risk of falling. Falls can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Though the difference as we get older is that a fall may cause more severe injury or limit our ability to care for ourselves.
Step stools and ladders lead to a higher risk of falling because:
- The user is higher off the ground
- The user has a small area to put their foot
- The user is standing on a device that can tip or move
What is the difference between a step stool and a step ladder?
It’s important to understand the difference between a step stool and a step ladder and how they both impact safety at home.
The main difference between a step stool and a step ladder is the height. A step stool is going to be shorter, while a ladder will be taller. This means that a ladder will typically be more stable since it has more contact with the ground. However, this also means that one needs to be more careful when using a ladder since climbing any height can be dangerous. We recommend avoiding using a ladder, and especially never use one while alone.
It is always safe practice to utilize accessible storage practices, such as the tips we shared above, within the home that do not require any sort of step stool or ladder. However, if one must use something to reach higher up on their own we recommend a safe step stool.
Safe Step Stools
If one is unable to find an accessible storage area at home, the next best option would be to use a safe step stool. It’s important to look for one that:
- Is rated for the weight that will be put on it
- Has a large, slip-resistant top step
- Has a wide base for stability
Depending on preference, it may be wise to find a stool that can be stored easily, many of which fold away into under-the-counter cabinet space.
If a safe step stool is needed to reach upper cabinets, we recommend Vaunn Medical’s Anti-Skid Step Stool. Whether it's in the kitchen, hallway closet or garage this is a great product to increase accessibility while also reducing the risk of one falling off the stool while in use.
With a durable construction and an additional hand grip this product is one of the safest step stools available.
- Made with triple-layered chrome-plated heavy duty steel
- Includes a non-skid ribbed rubber platform
- Provides a firm and stable hand grip, and includes reinforced rubber to provide traction
- 250 lb. weight capacity
It's very important to have consistent practices around the home that ensure that all items are easily accessible and that items are also properly stored away.
This not only reduces the risk of falling from reaching too high up but can also prevent tripping in the event of clutter on and around the floor.
By implementing the storage tips shared above or buy purchasing a safe step stool you can significantly improve safety and accessibility at home. And if you have any concerns about you or a loved one's ability to safely complete a task or worry about experiencing a fall from a step stool, our Client Care Team is here to assist you.