Home Safety Checklist for Seniors
Most accidents involving older people happen in their own homes. If your loved ones are living on their own, even with assistance, it is important to have every precaution in place to ensure their safety. The following is a list of the most problematic aspects of the home for senior safety and how to improve them!
The entry way is the predominant way you and your guests will be entering and exiting your home. If possible, a no step entry into your home is the best way to prevent any tripping or falling. A ramp is another viable form of a no step entry. Thresholds are another common feature, so entrances without thresholds help eliminate tripping hazards.
Wherever there are steps, it’s necessary to have handrails. Just as important, these railings must be strong and stable. Handrails will help provide some balance and security as you make your way up and down the stairs. A railing on both sides of the stairs is great if possible. If necessary, a stair lift may the best option for your home.
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home when it comes to safety. The shower or bathtub should have a handrail to assist with entering and exiting. Make sure to keep water spills cleaned up immediately, to avoid slipping. Grab bars can also be helpful by the toilet, to assist in sitting or standing.
If the home is made of hardwood floors, make sure there aren’t any loose boards. If there are carpets or rugs, keep an eye out for rips and tears. The floor should be an even surface to avoid any imbalance. Avoid any clutter or chords are the floor that could cause someone to trip. Even throw rugs can be a tripping hazard and move around easily. Rugs should be avoided, but can be secured with double-sided tape or another adhesive.
Regularly accessed items should be kept in easily available storage, like low shelves that don’t require much bending over or reaching. If something is stored higher, a sturdy step stool should be provided.
Is there enough lighting in your home? Each room must be well lit. It can be harder to see in the dark as one ages, so thorough lighting is helpful. Lights in the hall are important, as well as night lights in rooms that are frequently visited at night, like the bathroom.
Adequate Heating and Cooling
Body temperatures tend to fluctuate, and it is important to know how to work the heating and cooling in your house.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Like in any house at any age, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries every year.
A fire extinguisher should be kept in an accessible and clean area. You should know how to use the fire extinguisher and where it is located, in case of emergencies.
If you are living alone, it is imperative that you have a phone in case of an emergency. A cell phone is recommended, if you can keep a phone easily on you. If a phone is not an option, it is absolutely necessary that there is some sort of emergency alert system in place, if a crisis arose.
If you like to garden, you may consider raising your garden bed. Raising the bed will help reduce the amount of time bent over, easing fatigue on your back.