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Home Safety for Older Adults


Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall or other home accident. Walk through your home, use this checklist to spot safety hazards and immediately address potential problems.

Remove fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older people.
  • Remove throw rugs. These may look nice but are easy to trip on.
  • Clean up clutter to create a more open environment.
  • Don’t stretch extension cords across the floor.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Aging brains can’t always remember emergency information. Make it easy to call for help by posting a prominent note with important numbers.

Protect against fire. Home safety also includes addressing fire hazards.
  • Change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
  • Check the electric cords of all appliances and lamps. Replace frayed or damaged cords and limit the number of cords plugged into power strips.
  • Remove candles, which can easily start a fire.
  • Minimize use of space heaters. If you must use one, place it at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding and furniture and turn it off before going to bed or leaving the house.

Ensure a safe bathroom. The bathroom can be the riskiest room in an older adult’s home.
  • Install grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater to no higher than 120 degrees.
  • Put rubber mats in the bathtub or shower to prevent slipping.
  • Consider using a special bathing chair and a hand-held showerhead.
  • Install a nightlight in the bathroom and on the route to the bathroom.

Assess lighting. Aging eyes don’t always work as they once did.
  • Replace any burned-out lightbulbs.
  • Install motion-detection lighting inside and outside the home.

Check out stairs. Declines in balance and strength can make stairs treacherous for older people.
  • Test stair railings. Grab the railing and try to shake it back and forth. If the railing wiggles (even just a little bit), get it fixed.
  • Look into stairlifts. Call a qualified provider to see what’s feasible for your home.

Posted: 11/12/2020 3:04:52 PM
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