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How to perform a home safety assessment for seniors

Posted in Senior safety

Explore our top tips on how to keep your loved one’s home safe as they age



77% of Americans over the age of 50 wish to age at home, and with this vast majority of seniors planning to continue to live in their own home as they age, it’s important that they and their loved ones ensure their homes are safe for them to do so. [1]

As we age, there are certain hazards in our homes that we may not have noticed before, and in order to avoid dangerous accidents such as falls, we must conduct regular home safety assessments as our needs change.

Continue reading to learn more about the ways you can ensure your senior’s safety in their home as they age.


#1: Fall prevention

In the United States, over one in four seniors over the age of 65 fall every year, and one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. [2] In each area of your senior’s home, there are hazards that may be easily overlooked in posing a fall risk such as:

  • Floors. Take a look at the floors in each of the home’s rooms and see if there are any obvious obstacles, such as books, magazines, or shoes on the floor that could be moved. 

It’s also important to check that there is a clear path in every room to ensure that your senior does not have to walk around any furniture. If you have rugs in any rooms of the home, be sure to use double sided tape or a non-slip backing to reduce the risk of tripping over them.

  • Stairs and steps. It’s important to ensure that any stairs or steps in your senior’s home are secure and clear of hazards. If you notice that a step is broken or uneven or that the carpet is loose or torn, you should fix this as soon as possible to avoid any falls.

Good lighting over any staircase is also important so that your senior is able to clearly see the path in front of them. Check to ensure that there is a way to turn on the light both at the top of the stairs and at the bottom.

In addition, check all of the handrails going up the stairs. Are any loose or broken? If so, be sure to fix them or install new ones.

  • Kitchen. Place all kitchen appliances towards the front of countertops so that your loved one does not need to bend or reach too far. 

However, be sure to not place them too close to the edge to avoid the risk of them being pulled over. Move all essential kitchen items and utensils to lower cabinets and drawers that are easily reachable.

  • Bathrooms. Grab bars should be installed in the bathroom to help seniors enter and exit showers and tubs safely. If possible, consider replacing your home’s tub with a walk-in shower as it can become increasingly difficult for seniors to step over the sides of a bathtub. 

Also, ensure that there are non-slip bath mats on the tub floor to help prevent your senior from slipping. Seniors that have trouble standing for long periods of time should use a shower chair.  Also, ensure that soap, shampoo, and towels are all easily reachable.

If your loved one has trouble sitting and standing, consider installing a raised toilet seat and installing grab bars near the toilet to assist them.

  • Bedrooms. Place an easily-reachable lamp near the bed so seniors can easily turn the lights on and off should they need to get up at night. Also, if your senior has trouble getting in and out of bed, consider purchasing an electric adjustable bed to help. Lastly, make sure that the right mobility aid is available near the bed. 


Read more: 

Home modifications for seniors, room by room 


#2: Crime prevention

It’s important that your seniors know how to best protect themselves and their homes against potential criminal attacks, such as robberies. 

One of the most important steps to take is installing an alarm system with cameras. It’s a good idea to invest in cameras that can be accessed through the Internet so that loved ones can also monitor them and so that seniors can watch the camera feed if they are out of town. Also, if your senior is going to be out of their home for more than a day, purchase automatic timers to turn on lights and a television so that it appears someone is still home. 

Ensure that your senior knows never to let a stranger into their home to place a call or make a delivery. Ask all delivery people or contractors for identification before allowing them to enter your home. 


Read more: 

Online safety for seniors: 10 things you should know


#3: Medical alert devices

A medical alert device provides seniors with an emergency monitoring system that alerts a help center when they need assistance. This center then alerts their loved one and emergency services to help them. Medical alert devices are easy to wear and use, and come in various forms, such as on pendants or bracelets, or as a smartwatch. 

Many seniors may feel embarrassed to wear a medical alert device, but there are plenty of less bulky or obvious options, and these discreet designs help to make them more convenient and less embarrassing. 

One fall can quickly become a very serious issue if a senior is unable to receive help in time. These devices help seniors ensure they are able to receive help in a timely manner. A medical alert device also gives loved ones peace of mind that even if their loved one does fall or has a medical emergency, they will be able to receive help as quickly as possible.


#4: Safety plan

While seniors and their loved ones can take every precaution to ensure that a loved one does not suffer a fall, it can easily happen, and if it does, it’s important that your senior knows what to do. 

Be sure that your senior has a list of all emergency numbers in large print in multiple easy to reach places around the house.

It’s also important that your senior always carries a form of personal identification with their address, a medical identification card, and a list of names, numbers, and addresses of emergency contacts with them whenever they leave the house. This ensures that if they are ever lost or injured in public, someone can help them and knows exactly where to go and who to call.


Looking for a caregiver for you or a loved one?

At Flourish in Place, we provide home care options for all needs and budgets and specialize in helping families in Central Florida find the appropriate level of care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Our team is able to provide senior home safety guidance, including Alzheimer’s and dementia safety considerations, crime prevention safety, financial exploitation education, and fire safety. 

We offer a wide variety of specialized services including dementia care, cooking and serving nutritious meals, companionship and support, light housekeeping, and medication reminders.


To learn more, please request your Free Consultation today!


Sources: 

1: AARP | ​Despite Pandemic, Percentage of Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place Stays Steady 2: CDC | Facts About Falls

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