Aging in Place? 5 Ways to Make Your Garage Safer
Garages can be dangerous places. With power tools in the walkways, dark shadows in the corners, and narrow spaces between the car and the walls, the garage is a place where many accidents can happen. If you’re a senior hoping to age in place, upgrading your garage is an excellent way to avoid accidents and stay safe. Here’s what you need to know about making your garage a senior-friendly part of your home.
Brighten It Up
Slips and falls can happen easily in dark rooms. Brightening the garage can prevent accidents and injuries. You can do this in many ways.
Install Electric Lights
Work with an electrician to install more electric lighting in your garage. Workshop LED lighting is a very effective type of lighting for garage environments. Talk to your electrician about installing motion-sensor lights that turn on when someone enters the garage. This way, you won’t have to worry about turning on the lights when you drive your car into the garage.
Install a Garage Door with Windows
Windows provide natural lighting that helps brighten interior spaces during the day. For the most natural light possible, ask your garage door company about aluminum-frame frosted-glass garage doors. These doors have a sleek, modern look that is very befitting of modern homes. Because they are made up primarily of glass, these garage doors provide a lot of light.
If you’re not interested in a modern design, ask your garage door company to show you carriage-style garage doors with windows. These garage doors allow less light into the garage, but for a homeowner seeking a more traditional architectural style, these garage doors are a good choice.
Have an Automatic Garage Door Opener Installed
Non-automatic garage doors can be difficult to open and close. These garage doors can even be a danger to people operating them, because they lack some of the safety mechanisms of automatic garage doors. The age-in-place benefits of automatic garage doors include:
- The door opens and closes at the touch of a button.
- The new ceiling lights will turn on any time there is motion inside the garage
- The electric eye sensor prevents the garage door from closing when someone steps in the door’s path.
- The automatic reverse function causes the garage door to reverse course if it senses or closes on a stationary object.
The ease of use of automatic garage doors enables seniors to access their garage without excessive physical exertion.
Clear the Walkways
A lot of people store more than their car in their garage. Boxes, power tools, chemicals, yard tools, potting soil, and even patio furniture are common items in garages. Storing these tools in the walkway or on the floor can lead to trips and falls. Keeping a clear walkway can prevent accidents. You have many ways that you can clear the floors to make them safe:
- Install shelves and a pegboard for storage.
- Store more items outdoors in a shed or an outdoor storage chest.
- Get an off-site storage unit for things that you don’t need on a regular basis.
- Declutter and purge unnecessary items.
- Remove chemicals from the garage as they can cause respiratory problems and corrosion to everything in the garage
Decluttering and purging can be a physically taxing activity. Ask a relative or friend for help with this activity.
Upgrade From Single Car to Double Car
Single car garages can be very narrow. For a senior who is wheelchair-bound or for a senior who uses a walker, a single car garage may be too narrow to hold a vehicle. For some seniors, the best way to create a wider, safer walkway is to widen the garage.
If you decide to take this route, talk to your garage door company about installing a single large garage door, instead of two single-sized garage doors if you have them. Removing the center post requires construction, but it makes a sizeable change to your accessibility. With one large garage door, you’ll be able to pull into your garage in the center, leaving lots of room on each side for entering and exiting your vehicle.
Test Your Garage Door Safety Features Regularly
Testing the automatic garage door safety features is an excellent way to ensure that your garage door is safe to use. You can do this yourself if you feel comfortable. To start, wave a broom in the path of the closing door. If the door does not reverse course, have a garage door repair person inspect the garage door.
Next, leave a paper towel roll in the path of the door, then try to close it on the paper towel roll. When the garage door touches the paper towel roll, it should reverse course instantly. If it does not, contact a garage door company.
If you’re not comfortable testing these features yourself, have a garage door contractor test these safety features for you. Schedule an annual appointment with a garage door repair person for maintenance and a tune-up.
At Plano Overhead Garage Door, we’re happy to answer your questions and give you more information about improving the safety of your garage. Call us today to find out more.