These days, more seniors are able to remain in the comfort of their own home as they age. This is partly due to the increasing amount of available resources for the elderly. Utilizing these resources is an important step in reducing household hazards that may lead to injury. Falls are one of the top reasons why seniors are transferred to hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living communities. According to the National Council on Aging, every 11 seconds an adult over the age of 65 will fall leading to hospitalization. Having a friend, family member or professional caregiver frequently check for hazards reduces that risk.
If you would like to help your loved one stay safe and secure at home, there are steps you can take to safeguard their living space. Having a checklist can help keep the ones you care about injury free enabling them to stay where they want to be: home sweet home. Check out our safety checklist below to see what modifications may be helpful for the senior in your life.
- Remove or reroute chords so that they run along the wall.
- Keep walking areas clear of objects that can be bumped into or tripped over.
- Tack down or remove loose rugs.
- Check for spills.
- Avoid slippery floor cleaners and waxes.
- Add grab bars to high fall risk areas such as showers and both sides of the toilet.
- Place a non-slip mat in the shower and on any stairs.
- Install chair railing in high traffic areas such as hallways.
- Check for unstable indoor and outdoor railings.
- Install an electric stairlift if stair climbing is becoming too difficult.
- Add additional lighting to dim lit areas. For ideal lighting use non-glare 100 watt or greater.
- Place motion sensor night lights in the bathroom and hallways to avoid fumbling around for switches at night.
- Reduce kitchen clutter by keeping only the essentials.
- Throw out any expired food.
- Store pots, pans and other heavy items at waist level if possible.
- Drop off pre-made meals to save your loved one from cooking as often.
- Keep kitchen rags and other flammable items far from stovetops.
- Remind your loved one of the dangers of smoking when tired or in bed.
- Replace shoes with smooth slippery outsoles with those that have non-slip grip.
- Consider adding a wearable medical alert system as an added precaution.
- Medication dispensers can help seniors avoid missed pills or overdosage.
- Hire a professional caregiver to help your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs) around the home.
- Check for loose or old lightbulbs that need to be replaced.
- Check for leaky pipes and faucets and clearly label them hot and cold.
- Turn the water heater down to 120 degrees fahrenheit or below to avoid scaldings.
- Replace hazardous appliances such as irons and kettles with those that have an automatic shut off feature.
- Ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order.
- Look for overloaded outlets that can lead to an electrical fire.