It’s no surprise that most seniors want to age at home. In fact, 90 percent of people over 65 want to do so for as long as possible while 80 percent believe that’s where they will always live according to AARP. But what may be surprising are the number of safety concerns for seniors in the average home. Most of those create a greater risk for falls which is actually the leading cause of injuries for seniors. In fact, every 11 seconds a senior is treated in the emergency room for a fall according to the CDC. But that risk can be substantially reduced with the right precautions. This home safety checklist can help keep you or your loved one safe and confident at home.
Home Safety Checklist
On the Stairs and In the Hall
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairs and make sure they are tightly fastened.
- Use adequate lighting with light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs as well as each end of long halls.
- Keep areas where you walk free from clutter such as books, papers, clothes and shoes.
- Double-check that all carpets are fixed firmly to the floor and put no-slip strips on tile and wooden floors.
- Avoid using throw rugs or small area rugs in any area in which you walk.
- Mount grab bars near toilets, plus the inside and outside of your tub or shower.
- Place no-slip mats or strips on all surfaces that may get wet.
- Use night lights.
In Your Bedroom
- Place night lights and light switches close to your bed.
- Keep your cell phone near your bed.
In ALL Living Areas
- Keep electric cords away from walking paths.
- Affix all carpets and large area rugs firmly to the floor.
- Arrange furniture so it is out of your way when you walk.
- Make sure your sofas and chairs are a height that is easy to get in and out of.
- Never walk on wet floors.
- Keep often used items within easy reach.
- Preferably use a reach stick for items that are high. Or, if you must use a step stool make sure it is steady and has a handrail on top.
- Be aware of pets when you’re standing or walking so they don’t accidentally trip you.
- Keep emergency numbers pre-programmed in your cell phone or near each home phone.
- Invest in a personal emergency response system; a wearable call button that puts you in touch with help in the event of a fall.
- Consider modifications that could make your home more accessible including ramps, widening doorways and/or adding a chair lift.
Additional Fall Prevention Tips
While falls can happen to anyone, seniors can be at greater risk due to weaker muscles, more brittle bones, slower reaction times, impaired vision and balance, or perhaps even diminished cognitive abilities. In addition to making the home as safe as possible; seniors can also reduce this risk by:
- Having your doctor evaluate your fall risk and keeping up with preventative health visits.
- Reviewing your medications with your pharmacist and doctor to learn of any potential side effects that may put you at risk for falls.
- Exercising regularly to improve strength and balance.
- Seeing an eye doctor once a year.
- Ensuring you have the appropriate mobility devices to navigate your home safely.
Safety is Simple in Senior Living
While the home safety checklist and fall prevention tips can certainly reduce the risk for you or your loved one, it can be a lot to manage on your own while the costs, should you need more substantial home modifications, can also impact your budget.
Senior living offers an easier option as communities are designed with safety features from emergency response systems to grab bars to wheelchair ramps along with an easy to navigate environment that minimizes steps and fall hazards as standard.
Plus, senior living offers conveniences such as home maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, nutritious meals and transportation all taken care of for you in addition to support services should you need them. Not to mention, you’ll also enjoy a full calendar of social events, outings and enrichment opportunities!