Home safety for seniors is one of the most important exercises for families. Use these tips and suggestions to keep your beloved senior safe.
Falls are the top safety danger for older adults– virtually one-third of the elderly populace falls every year with 70% of falls happening in the house. Senior citizens should take additional preventative measures because of physical changes that take place throughout the aging process, such as low-vision, impaired hearing, feeling of touch and also odor, and also bone density loss. These aspects enhance the possibility of injury inside the home.
Here are the top 15 tips for home safety for seniors:
- Eliminate all throw rugs, repair frayed carpet, tack down loose carpet edges.
- Arrange furniture to allow enough space for safe walking within all rooms.
- When using oxygen, do not smoke or use an open flame.
- Do not overload circuits – unplug appliances when not in use.
- Wear close-fitting sleeves to prevent spills and burns that could happen with loose, long sleeves.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Use a step stool or reacher to reach high shelves – do not stand on chairs or stools.
- Place safety strips or a non-skid mat in bathtub/shower and install grab bars – do not use soap dishes or towel racks for support when sitting or standing.
- Keep closet doors and drawers closed to prevent bruises or tripping.
- Keep walking aids within reach and keep a nightlight on or flashlight within reach of your bed.
- Make sure all doors are locked and windows rolled up while driving. You don’t want someone jumping into your car when you stop in traffic.
- Never leave car keys inside the vehicle, not even for “just a minute.”
- Always lock the doors when you leave the vehicle, even for only a short time.
- Park as close as possible to where you are going.
- Avoid hiding a spare key in the car.
A Few More Low-Cost Home Safety for Seniors Tips:
- Add textured, no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower.
- Apply nonslip wax on floors.
- Place a waterproof seat or chair in the shower.
- Put nonskid treads on steps.
- Remove throw rugs.
- Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles.
- Replace the toilet with a raised or high-profile toilet.
How do I protect my elderly parents at home?
- Enroll your senior in an adult day program – this keeps seniors safe during the day while family is at work or running errands.
- Hire in-home care help to get regular breaks.
- Find a volunteer senior companion program in your area.
- Use a respite care service to get a longer break.
How do you make going up and down stairs safer for seniors?
Consider a stairlift
The safest way for seniors to get up and down the stairs is by using a stairlift. Electric stairlifts carry you up and down the stairs. And they’re very simple to use.
Stairways in the home should have railings on both sides. The CDC recommends railings as an important safety fix for seniors living at home. Add railings to all stairways in the home, including the steps leading into the house.
Remove Carpet Runners
To have the safest surface, eliminate any carpet runner from the stair. These runners, while a lovely décor, also add increased risk of tripping.
Add non-slip strips
To make hardwood stairs safer for seniors, add non-slip strips to the stairs. These will help prevent slips and falls.
Add a Spot to Rest
If a staircase allows for it, on a landing, consider adding a bench to offer a place to take a rest. A small bench can give a senior a much-needed break on the way up or down the stairs.
Check the lighting
Low-vision can make stairs dangerous. You can add safety measures by making sure the stairs, both inside and outside the house, are well lit. Shadows can make stepping difficult for seniors who have trouble with depth perception.
Keep Walking Paths Clear
Stairs should have a clear path and be free from clutter. Many people use the first few stairs as a place to hold items that need to go upstairs eventually. These extra piles of laundry or pieces of clutter can be a trip hazard.
Use Bright Colors
For seniors with low-vision, it can be hard to tell where one step ends and the other begins. To help, consider painting the stairs in contrasting colors.
Reduce the Number of Times Stairs are Used
Consider adapting the home to decrease the number of times an older adult needs to go up the stairs. The fewer trips up the stairs, the lower risk for falling on them.
Exercises and Physical Therapy
Consider working with an outpatient physical therapist to work on balance and strength. Both of these are crucial to preventing falls.
If you’re concerned about your senior living at home with stairs, talk to their primary care physician. A doctor may provide a therapy referral.
In-Home Safety Checklist for Seniors
Floors: Look at the floor in each room and ask yourself…
Do I have to walk around furniture when I walk through a room? Ask someone to move the furniture so your path is clear.
Do I have rugs on the floor? Remove them or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so they won’t slip.
Are there papers, books, towels, shoes magazines boxes blankets other objects on my floors that will make it difficult for me get from point A to Point B without tripping over something along my way?
Always keep these items off of any surface including ones with carpets as well as hardwood/linoleum surfaces
Make sure wires are not an obstacle by taping cords next to walls and clearing the path.
What About Your Stairs?
The stairs are an important part of your house, and it’s necessary to maintain them. One way that you can do this is by checking the carpet on each step for torn pieces or loose connections before walking up them so as not to cause any accidents with yourself or anyone else at home.
Another thing you should inspect is whether there are handrails installed on both sides of a staircase- since they’re often forgotten! Make sure these rails match in length with the steps themselves so that seniors don’t have too much trouble when climbing higher levels without assistance.
These two small things will help keep everyone from slipping down our stairwells while providing safe passage all around.
When entering a home, it is important to be mindful of the stairs and surrounding areas.
While walking up or down them, there should not be anything on the stairway that can obstruct someone from making their way safely without any tripping hazards such as papers, shoes or books left in an unsafe manner around this area.
It’s also crucial for one to make sure they have enough lighting over every set of steps so people are able to see where they’re going while ascending and descending these sets with no problems whatsoever–and if you lack sufficient lightings at either end/side then consider speaking with your electrician about how best install some lights within those precise places!
KITCHEN: Look at your kitchen and eating area.
Your kitchen and eating area are a part of your home that you probably use daily. There’s nothing worse than being unable to reach something in one of those high cabinets, or climbing up onto your countertops to grab an item off the top shelf! Make sure everyone can access what they need with these easy tips:
- Move items in your cabinets. Keep things you use often on the lower shelves (about waist level).
- If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.
BATHROOMS: Look at all your bathrooms.
Q: Is the tub or shower floor slippery? Put a non-slip rubber mat or selfstick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
Q: Do you need some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet? Have a carpenter put grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.
BEDROOMS: Look at all your bedrooms.
Q: Is the light near the bed hard to reach? Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.
Q: Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark? Put in a night-light so you can see where you’re walking. Some night-lights go on by themselves after dark.
Other Tips for Senior Safety at Home
- Exercise regularly. Exercise makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.
- Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy.
- Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.
- Get up slowly after you sit or lie down.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
- Improve the lighting in your home. Put in brighter light bulbs. Florescent bulbs are bright and cost less to use. It’s safest to have uniform lighting in a room. Add lighting to dark areas.
- Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better. For example, use a light color paint on dark wood.
- Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.
- Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up.
- Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.
As a senior, you may have noticed that your home is not the same as it used to be. It’s true that many seniors experience some level of age-related changes and limitations. As we get older, our bodies are less capable of handling certain tasks that were once easy for us to do. This can make living in an environment with stairs challenging or dangerous, and even simple things like cooking or bathing can become a struggle for someone who has trouble getting around on their own.