A Home Safety Checklist for Seniors Living at Home

Safety Prevention - A Home Safety Checklist for Seniors Living at Home

Each day, many families are faced with a very important decision regarding the future of their aging loved ones. Should they be moved into a senior home for care, an assisted living facility, or are they capable of living alone? There are many factors that will come into play, but first the health and functional capabilities of the aging loved one play a sizable role in the decision. If the family member is healthy enough to remain living at home, checking for safety should be top priority.

Lighting

All rooms should have ample lighting, but should be easy to navigate in the dark. Night vision gets weaker with age, making adequate lighting a must. Nightlights can be placed in hallways or rooms that are frequently visited at night, like the bathroom.

Emergency Situations

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested at least every six months. Along the same lines as these, fire extinguishers should be easily accessible throughout the home in case anything ever happened. Sometimes due to forgetfulness, a candle could be left lit overnight, or a kitchen mishap could send flames throughout the home. Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher. Phones should be available, whether it be a home phone or cell phone.

If using a phone is not an immediate option, there are emergency alert systems, which could be lifesavers in urgent situations. Have you developed an escape route or emergency plan? Consider contacting an elder support agency to explore options for safety assistance.

Railings

At both steps and staircases, railings should be mounted properly. If possible, having railings on both sides can help a senior maintain their balance more easily. Sometimes, it is a necessity to have a stair lift installed in a senior’s home for convenience and safety. Though sometimes expensive, it is worth the peace of mind to know that the elderly individual can access all parts of their home whenever they need to.

Bathroom Items

Handrails in a shower are as important as handrails on stairs. Senior citizens sometimes have trouble safely stepping in and out of the shower or bath, and this alleviates some of that. A proper non-skid mat at the base of the bathtub or shower will help to prevent slips and falls. A bath rug on the floor of the bathroom should be in place to avoid slipping on a wet floor surface after a bath or shower. However, the rug needs to have a rubber backing that grips the floor to avoid it from easily sliding around. How about the toilet seat? Is it too low? Perhaps a raised set would make it easier to get on and off the toilet.

Floors

Sometimes hardwood floors get boards that become loose. These should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent tripping and falling. The same applies to carpets with tears in them. All floors should be even, and surfaces should be free of debris and items like wire cords. Throw rugs might also pose a hazard, as they can move around and get bunched up. Double-sided tape on the underside of the rugs will hold them in place easily.

Daily Items

Aside from keeping all of the obviously dangerous things in check, it is important to realize that the items a senior will need daily at home should be looked over carefully and thoughtfully. Consider the cabinets in the kitchen – how high are they? Can items be easily reached? Frequently used items should be on a shelf that is easily reachable and does not require any additional equipment for access. Where are medications kept? Are they clearly marked?

By being conscious of potentially dangerous situations around a senior’s home, and by taking care of the things that need to be fixed and making adaptations to facilitate a safe living environment, many injuries can be prevented.

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