It is not uncommon for someone approaching retirement to want to remain in their home as they age. Despite being in the comfort of their own home, someone aging is still prone to accidents. Creating a home safety checklist and implementing home safety tips can reduce the risk of an accident occurring, while still giving a senior their sense of independence. Following a checklist and home safety tips makes it possible for a senior to age in their place of choice longer. 

Home Safety Tips

  • Remove tripping hazards. Make sure the home is free of things like ottomans, low tables, electrical cords, loose area rugs, or anything that would make it easy for a senior to trip over. If the senior lives with children or dogs, ensure toys are picked up. 
  • Have bathroom grab bars installed. The bathroom is a common place for an in-home fall to occur. Grab bars allow seniors to navigate the bathroom independently, without the fear of falling. You can purchase grab bars at hardware stores, and they can be installed by plumbers, home safety specialists, or anyone who considers themselves handy. 
  • Supply ample, accessible seating. Little things like having a bench near the front door for putting on shoes, or having stools in the kitchen or shower are extremely convenient for seniors. Adding these seats around the house encourages a senior to continue performing daily activities. 
  • Check thresholds. If the floor is raised from one room to another, this could pose a major trip hazard threat. Seek assistance from a safety expert to inquire about flattening thresholds or installing ramps/handrails. 
  • Inspect outdoor spaces. Keep up with removing rocks and roots from the yard, regularly inspect the driveway for cracks, and ensure there is always a clear path to the mailbox. 

Benefits Of Technology and Medical Alerts

There are a ton of easy-to-use devices on the market that are designed to assist aging seniors. Things like reducing the risk of falling, managing medication, and easily accessing help in the case of an emergency are all benefits to a senior possessing these devices. 

Medical alert devices are a great way to emphasize safety in the home for seniors. Some of these devices are wearable, like LifeAlert or Bay Alarm Medical, and have buttons making it quick and easy to call for emergency assistance. Fall detection is also an option that some companies provide, usually at an additional cost. 

Cell phones that are senior-friendly make it possible for aging adults to communicate with family and friends, and provide a quick method of reaching emergency help in the event of an accident. Some of these phones have emergency networks and GPS tracking pre-installed. 

Another useful piece of technology to have around a senior’s home are smart home devices. These smart devices can make emergency calls, set reminders for things like medication, and also provide entertainment values like music or audiobooks. 

Telehealth services provide the opportunity for seniors to connect with their doctors and nurses right from their homes. Most of these service companies supply 24/7 emergency response services, and strong customer support skills. 

The Importance of a Home Safety Checklist

Creating and implementing a home safety checklist can help prevent risks. The list should be reviewed monthly, and home safety assessments should be performed annually. 

Things to put on your checklist include: 

  • Make sure each level of the house has a working smoke detector
  • Check for a carbon monoxide detector
  • Place easy-to-use fire extinguishers in common areas of the house
  • Inspect the furnace 
  • Ensure doors and locks are working properly
  • Replace any burnt-out light bulbs
  • Clean laundry lint traps
  • Secure towel racks, bath mats, and all handles

Tips For Seniors With Dementia Living At Home

Aging adults who may have wandered, or struggle with memory loss problems should always be supervised. As a caregiver, if a senior living with you battles with dementia, there are precautions to make sure your home is extra safe and will assist in preventing dementia and Alzheimer-related risks. 

  • Appliances with auto-shutoff features make it possible for a senior to perform tasks independently, without the risk of forgetting to turn an appliance off after use. Hidden gas valves and circuit breakers can also ensure that ovens, stoves, or fireplaces can’t be left on. 
  • Place finger guards on garbage disposals or make sure switches are covered with safety locks. 
  • Lock any drawer or cabinet that contains knives, cleaning supplies, medication, or anything else that could potentially be harmful. 
  • To prevent a senior from accidentally locking themself in a room and beginning to panic, remove locks from their bedroom and bathroom. 
  • Lights and night lights that are easy to access throughout the home can reduce disorientation at night. Clear paths and open areas encourage independence and social interaction, which is extremely important for anyone with dementia.

Home Safety Inspections

The first home safety inspection is crucial because an expert may notice something that poses a risk that you or a family member may have overlooked. 

To ensure your home safety inspection is thorough, include these steps: 

  • Assess “red zones”, like kitchens, bathrooms, porches, and any staircases or steps
  • Detect existing fall hazards
  • Make sure smoke detectors are working properly, and check for fire hazards
  • Enquire about door widening, stairlifts, wheelchair ramps, or any safety additions that would benefit your loved one. 

It is possible for any home to become senior-friendly with the correct modifications, and an aging seniors should be able to stay in the home they love while feeling independent. 

In some cases, all that needs to be done to make a home senior-friendly is simply replacing doorknobs with lever handles or installing handrails, as opposed to some homes that require major renovations like installing an elevator, either way, a home safety expert can assist in allowing your senior loved one to age in place.