Creating a Home Safety Checklist For Yourself Or Aging Family And Friends
As people age, they become more susceptible to injuries in and around the home. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death for seniors, so it’s important to take some simple precautions to keep them safe. A home safety checklist for seniors can help you do just that. This checklist can help you identify potential hazards in your home and take steps to address them.
Before the Checklist
Aging can bring about a number of health concerns, some of which may impact your ability to live safely in your home. It’s important to take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents and injuries.
Identify Potential Hazards
The first step to keeping seniors safe is identifying potential hazards in your home. Common hazards for seniors include:
- Sharp objects
- Items that can cause slips and falls, like throw rugs
- Chemicals and poisons
- Stairs without handrails
- Hot surfaces, like ovens and stoves
- Cold surfaces, like refrigerators
- Electrical cords
- Bucket handles or other protruding objects
Some Questions To Ask
- Are all of your windows and doors locked and secured?
- Is your home equipped with working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?
- Are there any emergency numbers posted in a visible location?
- Is your home well-lit and free of clutter?
Once you’ve identified the hazards in your home, it’s time to take action. You can start by removing or adapting hazardous items, like installing grab bars in the bathroom or using a safety switch for electrical appliances. You can also create a safe environment by keeping walkways clear and free of obstacles and using non-skid mats in areas with moisture.
It’s also important to have an emergency plan in place. This includes knowing how to get out of your home quickly if there is a fire or other emergency and having contact information for family or friends who can help if needed. Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts and put together a Disaster Supplies Kit, including items like water, food, and a first-aid kit.
If you’re able, consider getting a home security system that can help you keep an eye on things while you’re away. Ensure that all members of your household are aware of the home safety checklist and know what to do in case of an emergency. And finally, be sure to have regular conversations with your loved ones about safety in the home – they may be able to suggest ways to make your home even safer.
Each room in a home poses unique risks and hazards to seniors. While some general tips apply to making all spaces in a home safer, there are specific safety checklists to consider to enhance a senior’s welfare in different aspects of a home.
Cooking can be a dangerous task for seniors, as burns and slips are common occurrences in the kitchen. To help keep your loved one safe while cooking, make sure they follow a safety checklist every time they step into the kitchen.
The first thing on the checklist should be to wear appropriate clothing. Loose clothing can easily catch on fire, so make sure your loved one is wearing tight-fitting clothes or an apron. Long pants and sleeves are also important, as they can protect against burns if something spills on them.
Next, make sure your loved one has all of the necessary tools within reach. This includes knives, pots and pans, and utensils. It’s also important to have ingredients within arm’s reach, as they can be dangerous if they fall.
Finally, remind your loved one to always be aware of their surroundings. This means being careful when walking around the kitchen and keeping an eye on what they are doing. If there are distractions, like the TV or phone, ask your loved one to turn them off so that they can focus on cooking.
By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure that your loved one stays safe while cooking.
- Make sure oven doors are closed properly when cooking.
- Use oven mitts when handling hot dishes.
- Avoid standing on chairs or stools to reach high shelves.
- Stay aware of what you’re cooking – never leave food unattended on the stovetop!
- If there’s a fire, remember to stay low and exit the building quickly.
- When it comes to staying safe in the bathroom, there are a few key things that seniors should keep in mind.
- Make sure the area is well-lit. This will help you avoid any potential accidents while shaving, brushing your teeth, or using the toilet.
- Keep the floor clear of clutter. This will help you avoid any accidents while walking around the bathroom.
- Be careful when using slippery surfaces.
- Use nonslip mats in the bathroom and install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower.
- Use a stable stool when reaching for high objects. This will help prevent any falls.
- Keep the toilet seat and lid down when not in use. This will help avoid any potential accidents.
- Take your time when getting in and out of the bath or shower. This will help prevent any slips or falls.
- Make sure to have a sturdy grip on the towel when drying off. This will help prevent you from losing your balance.
- Another area where extra caution is especially important is in the bedroom. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind for the bedroom of an older individual.
- Make sure all furniture is stable and secure. Avoid placing anything too close to the bed that could be a tripping hazard.
- Install grab bars near the bed to provide support when getting up or out of bed.
- Keep a phone within easy reach in case of an emergency.
- Place a flashlight by the bed in case of a power outage.
- Have easy-to-reach storage for medications, eyeglasses, and other items that seniors might need close at hand.
- Keep the bedroom well-lit to avoid falls.
- Use a good quality mattress and pillows to promote a good night’s sleep.
- Make sure the room is aired out and cool in the summer and warm and cozy in the winter.
Seniors often need to be extra careful when climbing stairs, as they can be more prone to slips and falls. For seniors, taking the necessary precautions when navigating stairs can be the difference between a minor fall and a major injury. Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to make your home safe for seniors on stairs.
First, make sure that the stairs are well-lit. Install bright light bulbs at the top and bottom of the staircase, and consider adding a motion sensor light to increase safety.
Next, ensure that the stairs are free of clutter. Make sure that there are no toys or other objects lying around that could cause someone to trip.
Finally, create a safety checklist for seniors on stairs. Tape it to the wall next to the staircase, or place it in a spot where it will be easy to see. The checklist should include items like:
- Using sturdy handrails when ascending or descending stairs
- Taking small steps and not rushing
- Stopping if you feel unsteady
- Using a cane or walker if needed
- Wearing shoes with adequate traction
- Carrying a flashlight or other light source when walking in dark areas
- Staying aware of one’s surroundings and avoiding distractions while on stairs
- Paying attention to weather conditions and icy surfaces that can cause slips and falls
- Avoiding carrying heavy objects while on stairs
- If necessary, consider installing a stairlift or other device to assist in navigating stairs safely
- Unless a senior is room bound, these living areas will be in which they spend the most time. There are some simple precautions that one can take to keep a senior protected and ensure their wellbeing.
- Install safety equipment in the home, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, and fire extinguishers.
- Keep all pathways and stairways clear of clutter and obstacles. This recommendation is worth repeating for every room, as it greatly reduces the possibility of a fall leading to injury or death.
- Make sure all railings on stairs are secure, and use sturdy shoes with rubber soles to avoid slipping.
- Store household chemicals and cleaners out of reach, and make sure to read the labels carefully before using them. It is helpful to have multiple pairs of glasses that one can easily access in each room, especially if a senior has vision problems.
- Make sure that the rooms are well ventilated.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone, and program them into your speed dial.
- Plan ahead for bad weather by stocking up on food, water, and supplies.
- Stay social and connected to friends and family members, and make sure to have someone check in on you regularly.
Following a home safety checklist can help you or your senior live safely and independently in the home for many years to come. By taking a few simple precautions, you can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Your local fire department may provide you with a checklist of items specific to your home and can install safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers at no cost to you. You can also contact your senior center for more information on home safety for seniors.