Are you a senior or other individual looking to improve your or a loved one’s home safety? Want to know what areas of the home to pay special attention to? Do you need a simple-to-follow home safety checklist for seniors and others?
You have come to the right place. The downloadable, printable checklist in this article provides action steps to safeguard against the most common home injury issues as we age.
Preventing Falls At Home
(Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission that will help support this blog. Thanks so much.)
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal trauma hospital admissions among the elderly according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And the National Council on Aging notes that:
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
- The financial toll of falls for older adults will increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Steps that can be taken to greatly reduce the chance of falling include:
- Clear hallways, walking paths, and stairs of boxes, piles, furniture, and other obstacles that could cause tripping or stumbling,
- Get rid of throw rugs that slide around or whose corners turn up.
- Add non-slip mats to bathrooms and the area by the kitchen sink. Water could potentially reach the floor and make things slick.
- Place safety adhesive tread or a mat in the shower or bathtub.
- Install handrails on both sides of stairs and grab bars in bath for support. Also, placing grab bars by toilet will greatly aid seniors in sitting down and rising safely.
- Check toilet seat height to make sure not too low. If needed, a raised toilet seat can be added.
- Include color contrasting anti slip tape on the edges of stairs.
- Move frequently used items to shelves and spots that are easily accessible without need of a step stool or chair.
- Light things up! More light helps people see where they are going and what is around them. Wireless motion sensing and touch or clap on/off lights work well to brighten things up. Also, incorporate some night lights in areas where people will be getting up to go to bathroom overnight.
Reducing Fire Risk At Home
Adults aged 65 and older die in home fires far more often than the rest of the populace. Smoking causes the greatest number of fires that kill older adults (U.S. Fire Administration). Other frequent causes of fire include improperly positioned space heaters and cooking flare ups in the kitchen.
Reducing fire risks serves as another major part of the home safety checklist for seniors.
Steps to take to minimize fire risks include:
- Install fire detectors outside each bedroom and on every level of the home. For the deaf, blind, or heavy sleepers, buy smoke alarms with visual signaling lights. Pair these with vibrating devices that will shake the bed or pillow in in case of alarm activation.
- While you are at it, ensure that you have carbon monoxide detectors in place if you have any appliances that run on gas, oil, kerosene, or wood. Or if the home includes an attached garage or a fireplace. Install them outside of bedrooms and in general living area away from fireplace or appliances (CarbonMonoxideKills.com).
- Consider an automatic stove turn off. This device will shut down the stove under preset conditions or at specific time intervals.
- Look around and make sure that you don’t see any frayed electrical cords or overloaded outlets.
- Hire a professional to inspect the home heating system and fireplace yearly.
- Put a small fire extinguisher in an easy to access spot such as the kitchen or near a main exit door.
- Maintain at least a 3 foot distance between space heaters and yourself, as well as, clothing, curtains, etc…
Medication Safety For Seniors-An Essential Part Of Home Safety Checklist
- Keep medicines in their original bottles, boxes, etc. with instructions on them (unless using a medicine dispensing device).
- Develop or get a health care professional to help you with a list of all medications that you are currently taking. Maintain this list.
- Place medicine in a location that young children and individuals with memory loss/dementia cannot easily access. Do not leave laying on nightstands, bathroom or kitchen counters, etc.. If you store in medicine cabinet, consider a latch to help prevent inappropriate access.
- If having difficulty managing medications, explore medicine dispensing devices and home health assistance to help out.
Other Item To Consider on Home Safety Checklist for Seniors
Along the same line as medicines, look throughout the house, garage, and outbuildings to ensure that household, automotive and lawn/yard chemicals are being stored safely.
- Keep cleaners and chemicals in their original containers.
- Store products away from food and heat sources.
- Avoid storing propane cylinders, gas cans, charcoal lighter and automotive fluids in the house (EnvironmentalChemistry.com).
- Dispose of expired or leaking product safely. Consult your local waste management services if you need information on how to do so.
By taking proactive steps, you will greatly improve home safety for all ages.