Home is a special place, but certain issues can arise as you get older. What was once a normal part of your home can become a tripping hazard. Three million older adults go to the emergency room each year after a fall, so it’s important to make sure you and your family members take the steps necessary to independently navigate your home.
The challenge is that some safety issues can be easy to overlook. According to the CDC, one out of every five falls results in an injury, which is why we’ve put together a home safety checklist for seniors. Whether you’re entering your golden years or are trying to protect your elderly parents, these tips can help you take steps to make sure your home is a safe space to age in place.
What’s Included in a Home Safety Checklist for Seniors?
While some areas may have more hazards than others, every space should be checked for safety. This checklist will go over each area that you should review and offer home safety tips for seniors who need to address each space. Those spaces include the following areas:
- Living areas
- Home exterior
- General home prep
Senior safety tips for floors
A clear path is a safe path whenever you walk around your house. Look at the floors in each room and make the following changes in necessary.
- Remove or secure any loose rugs or other items on the floor. Area rugs, throw rugs, and other items that can curl or bunch up should either be taken away or secured with double-sided tape or non-slip backing.
- Make sure each room has a clear path that’s easy to navigate. Have someone move furniture or other items out of the way to make each room easy to traverse.
- Get rid of any cords or wires in pathways. Coil or tape cords and wires along walls or other areas where you won’t walk.
- Pick up any items that are left on the floor. Be extra careful about baskets or boxes that may contain blankets, books, or more. If you can trip over it, it should go somewhere else.
- If any floor can become slippery, add traction mats or other safety tools to help prevent falls.
Senior safety tips for stairs
Steps and stairs are a notable hazard for seniors whether they’re inside the house or out. Take the following steps to make using stairs easier and safer.
- Make sure every stairway has handrails that are comfortable and easy to use. If needed, handrails should be on both sides of the stairs and should be checked regularly to make sure they aren’t loose.
- Fix any loose or uneven steps. If there’s carpet, make sure that it’s firmly attached to each stair.
- Check to see if each stairway has a light. Light switches should be available at the top and bottom of each staircase.
- Remove any clothes, books, or other items from the stairs. Loose items are tripping hazards and should never be left behind.
Senior safety tips for kitchens
Kitchens are prime spots for accidental slips or strains. Take the following steps to prevent injuries and other issues in the kitchen.
- Ensure the kitchen is properly lit to clearly highlight the stove, countertops, and any other surface. It’s also smart to use night lights in case you or your loved one needs to walk through the kitchen at night.
- Test ventilation systems to make sure smoke, gas, and other vapors are properly vented.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency.
- Keep essential kitchen items in places that are easily accessible to limit the need for step stools or straining.
- Never use a kitchen chair as a step stool. If needed, make sure that a step stool is sturdy and has a grab bar to reduce fall risks.
- Place water-absorbent, non-skid mats in front of sinks or other spill areas.
- Invest in sturdy furniture that seniors can easily use to sit and get up safely.
Senior safety tips for bathrooms
Bathrooms are natural slip hazards thanks to the potential for slippery surfaces and other issues. Prepare your bathroom with the following steps.
- Place a non-slip mat or anti-skid tape on the shower or tub floor.
- Install grab bars in and next to the shower, tub, and toilet to provide extra support and make it easy to get up or sit.
- Keep all hair dryers and other electrical items unplugged when not in use and keep cords away from the floor where people will walk.
- Consider installing a raised toilet seat if it’s difficult to sit down and stand without help.
- Remove any loose rugs or bathroom mats or put anti-slip backings on them to limit trips.
- Keep a night light in the bathroom to improve visibility during nighttime bathroom visits.
Senior safety tips for bedrooms
It’s important to make sure that your bedroom is as safe as can be, especially whenever people are still groggy. The following measures can help keep seniors safe all day long.
- Make sure that certain items are easily within reach of the bed, including a light source and phone.
- Make sure that the path from the bed to the rest of your house is clear of tripping hazards. Add a night light along the path for any late-night walks.
- Have smoke alarms installed inside and outside the bedroom and regularly test them and replace the batteries.
- Check the height of the bed to make sure it’s the right height. Seniors should be able to firmly plant their feet on the floor while sitting on the mattress to make it easier to get up and down.
Senior safety tips for living areas
Living rooms, family rooms, and dens should be comfortable places to relax. Here are some ways that you can eliminate hazards and keep living areas free from danger.
- Remove any low-style furniture that can be harder to see and easier to trip over than other furniture.
- Keep any space heaters, candles, or other fire sources away from curtains, walls, or other flammable materials.
- Monitor the space for any loose floor rugs, furniture trim, or other hazards that may trip up people walking through the room.
- Have any fireplaces, hearths, or chimneys professionally inspected or cleaned.
- Try and use smart home devices, mobile phones, and other technology available to limit the need to get up and down to answer calls or handle other surprises.
Senior safety tips for basements and garages
It can be easy to forget about the basement or garage, but both spaces can have potential hazards. Check both areas for the following issues.
- Ensure that water heaters and electrical panels and set to the right temperature and have the right fuse sizes.
- Keep any work areas well-lit, especially if there are tripping hazards or power tools nearby.
- Store any flammable or combustible liquids outside of the house and make sure any gas or kerosene has proper ventilation.
- Watch for any cracks in the floor or other issues that can cause falls or may be signs of wear and tear in the home.
Senior safety tips for home exteriors
The outside of the home needs some love and attention in addition to the interior. Take the following steps to make the outside of your home safe for everyone.
- Check to see that the porch, and entryway to each door are well lit. The light switch for each door should also be located near each entry.
- If there are outside steps or other tricky walkways, install handrails to make them easy to maneuver.
- Review any steps, approaches, and entryways to make sure that they’re in good condition and add any slip-resistant pads or other safety features if needed.
- Ensure that any outside electrical outlets are GFCI-protected and have weatherproofing available.
A Safe Home for a Safe Future
No matter where you live, you deserve to be able to live your life to the fullest. Taking steps to make your home as safe as possible can help you stay happy and healthy through the golden years.
Of course, sometimes your home isn’t the right place for you or your loved ones anymore. At National Church Residences, we offer quality housing to help seniors live out the life they want to live. Find out which senior living options are in your area or give us a call at 844-465-6063 to talk to one of our friendly staff members today.