WINDOWS… how well can you see through yours?
This isn’t a trick question. Nor is it a come-on for window cleaners.
Despite the fact we place a high value on our windows, when it comes to safety; windows tend to be taken for granted…and that’s a shame.
Let me explain.
It might surprise you to hear that the Romans were the first known people to use glass for windows. Not until the early 17th century did glass windows become common.(1) Numerous sizes and styles now play a huge role in how a home looks and more recently, the emphasis has been on energy efficiency with the use of multi panes and tints.
In our quest for elegance and beauty, we tend to forget the importance windows have on our physical and mental health…and…our ability to live at home as long as we want.
Let’s look at the physical aspects first.
- Do they lock securely? We know any neighborhood can be vulnerable to break-ins and poorly locked windows provide a major route for robbers. (After reading this, you may want to do an inspection around your home to check for any weak spots.)
- Windows should be updated to operate easily. Believe it or not, some seniors still live in the first homes they ever purchased. Older homes with wood frames may be prone to splinters, warping, and rusting hardware. All of these make opening, closing and locking harder to do. And it’s not just old homes or wood. Often builders use cheaper materials which are prone to break down over time.
- Are they within easy reach? Nothing’s more dangerous than having a senior reaching for something that can put them off balance. Convenient placement of windows eliminates things like climbing up on stools, or straining backs while trying to open or close a window.
- Just like faucets and drawers, it’s essential to have window hardware that’s easy to work with.
Now let’s talk about the mental advantages of having good windows and window placement.
- Well placed windows raise spirits by allowing natural light into a house. Look at any design or architectural magazine and notice just how much natural light shows off rooms to their best. Realtors advise home sellers to maximize natural light when showing their house for the sames reason. Not only does the house look better, it’s easy to feel better when your surroundings are bright.
- Access to fresh air does the same thing. Unless you’re living in a high pollution area or subject to allergies, just a breath of fresh air can make your spirits soar. Plus, fresh air and sunlight help prevent the formations of mold and mildew. According to House Cleaning Central, “Sunlight and a fresh breeze are about as “anti-mold and mildew” as it gets because mold and mildew love dark damp areas of stagnating air.”(2) Good ventilation doesn’t just feel good, it’s healthy.
- One of the biggest fears of aging is losing control of one’s world. Easy to operate windows extends that feeling of being in charge and enjoying the freedom that comes with it.
- And how about looking out the window? Ever notice on a plane how the middle seats are the last to be filled? It’s easy to understand. With the aisle seat, you can monitor the flight attendants and how soon they’ll bring refreshments. With the window seat, you can see the earth from a completely different perspective. But the middle seat? It’s like being in a box. The same principle applies to living at home. It’s uplifting to sit in a favorite chair and look outside, especially if you have access to a pretty view (or just to keep tabs on the neighbors!). We know our mental and phyical health is intricately intertwined. Enjoying the world beyond our walls increases the pleasure we have in each day. It extends our ability to live on our terms as long as possible.
Glare is as dangerous as shadows. Windows that allow direct sunlight need exterior or interior treatments to get the best result. Exterior treatments, like awnings, sail shades and patio covers keep the sun from shining directly in. Indoor treatments with more than one layer allow residents to use however much covering is needed to light things up without getting blinded.
Well placed, well used windows add more quality to daily living than we think. So take a look around your home. Do you like what you see?
Not sure what to do next? Contact us for a consultation, we are here to help you.