Staying Safe at Home
We often fail to think about ways to keep our homes safe until it’s too late. Here are some suggestions to help you identify hazards that could jeopardize your well-being and independence, and solutions for a safer home. Our experts are here to discuss options with you.
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Home Safety Solutions
Aloe Care delivers an advanced medical alert and communication system for older adults. Their service enables safety, security and connection for older adults and their families, making care collaboration intuitive and easy.
TruBlue’s services include to-do list chores, handyman services, house cleaning, senior modifications, yard work, emergency repairs, seasonal work, and preventative maintenance. TruBlue also offers Senior Home Safety Assessments and ongoing maintenance packages.
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Home Safety Checklist: 11 Tips for Older Adults
If you’re like 79% of older adults, you’ve given some thought to things you’ll need to do to live safely in your home as you age. Though surveys show* that half of older adults have not taken any action on them. To that end, here’s a checklist of safety tips that you or a family member or caregiver can tick off as you make your home a safer place to live.
Is the bed too low or too high?
The bed is too low if your knees are above your hips when you sit on the bed with your feet on the floor. Bed risers under bed legs can raise the height. The bed is too high when your feet do not touch the floor when you sit on the edge of the bed. Replace the bed frame with a lower one, or use a lower profile mattress or box spring.
Do throw rugs create a tripping hazard? Is the carpet torn?
Remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape or a rug pad to secure the rug to the floor. For small tears, a little glue or carpet staples can fix the problem.
Does the furniture provide proper support?
Make sure chairs are the proper height, so your feet touch the floor. If the chair is too low, add a cushion or pillow on the seat to raise the height. A chair that is too high, or without arms to provide support when you rise, should not be used.
Are grab bars available near the tub, shower, and toilet?
Most falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Adding grab bars near shower/tub units and the toilet can help prevent falls and other accidents. If you find yourself using the towel rod to steady yourself in the bathroom, it may be time to install grab bars. They come in a variety of colors and styles.
Are the bathroom or kitchen floors slippery?
Add a rubber mat or adhesive non-slip decals to the bottom of a tub. Always clean up spills immediately and never walk on a wet floor. Try comfortable shoes that fit well or socks with non-skid soles. If possible, change flooring to one with a less slippery surface.
Is the bathtub too high?
If the bathtub is too high, which is often the case with a claw foot tub or antique tub, add a tub transfer bench. You can also consider replacing your tub with a curbless, walk-in shower.
Is there adequate light at night?
Night lights are an ideal solution for dark hallways. Rope lighting is another good option for hallways that connect the bathroom and bedroom. Lights with motion sensors can help improve safety around outdoors pathways and entrances.
Are cabinets too high or low?
Move frequently used items to the shelves or cabinets that are the easiest for you to reach. In the kitchen, install hooks in the walls for frequently used pots and pans to avoid bending over to get them out of low cabinets.
Is there protection against fires in the kitchen?
Ensure every family member knows where the fire extinguisher is and store it in a place that’s easy to access. Consider fire prevention devices that automatically shut off a stove if it’s left unattended for a specific amount of time.
Do all indoor and outdoor steps have proper handrails?
Stabilize unsteady railings. If they’re missing, install at least one and preferably two. Have damaged or broken steps and sidewalk repaired. For more advanced mobility support, install a ramp, stair lift, or glide.
Is there clutter in the walkways?
Check hallways, staircases, and other pathways throughout the house to ensure clutter (think: clothing, magazines, newspapers or other items) isn’t posing a tripping hazard. You may need to remove or rearrange furniture or re-route extension cords to ensure clear walkways.
Millions of older adults say they want to stay in their homes as they age. But homes may have pitfalls that could hinder that plan. It’s important to re-evaluate your home at least yearly to monitor for new safety concerns. For more tips, check out this full Home Safety Checklist. For more information on types of technology that can support your safety, check out our Technology page.
* Home Instead, Inc. fielded an online survey of 1,000 North American homeowners aged 55-75 years. Of these 1,000 respondents, 899 live in the United States and 101 live in Canada. Sampling was conducted to balance age, gender and geographic region.