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14 Steps to Keep Seniors Safe in Their Home

Most seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible. However, to do so, subtle and not-so-subtle things around the house need to change to prevent falls and accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.

Here is a step-by-step guide to follow when evaluating and readying a senior’s home. Remember, while assisted living is always a possibility, a safe and secure home can keep you and your loved ones in their home for several years to come.

 

It Starts with a Home Evaluation

Whether you can do it yourself with family members or need a professional assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT), it is essential to go room-by-room through the house and look for potential hazards and areas that are difficult to reach or maintain. If you decide to use an OT, many insurance providers will cover the cost of this assessment if a physician prescribes it.

Be sure to take photos of areas of concern and write notes. Prioritize what needs to be completed first.

 

Consult Resources

Now that the home inspection is complete, it is always good to consult national resources to find out if you missed anything. For example, the AARP HomeFit Guide offers many tips and diagrams to make your entire home safe. You can download the full 28-page document, parts of it, or ask them to send you a free copy via the mail.
 

General Home Improvements

Before starting on the list below, declutter your entire home and garage. Get rid of old books, magazines, clothes, furniture, and kitchen items. Not only will your family thank you, but you will open up a whole lot of space and reduce the risk of falling.

 

Lighting

  1. Consider installing motion-senor lighting if light switches are difficult to access.
  2. Put nightlights in the bedroom and along the hallway to the bathroom to improve visibility.
  3. Make sure to have a flashlight in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living space.

Electrical Cords

  1. Be sure all electrical cords are secured with cable ties and behind furniture.

Door Knobs

  1. Replace all doorknobs with lever handles for easy grabbing.

Bathrooms

  1. Put a grab bar next to the toilets
  2. Install single-handed faucet controls
  3. Install a hand-held showerhead
  4. Put a foldable seat in the shower
  5. Apply slip-resistant coatings on the floor
  6. If you use rugs and mats, place non-slip carpet pads on the backs of them
  7. Install reachable liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispensers in the shower
  8. Replace glass shower stalls with a curtain

Stairways

  1. Install and check handrails and make sure they are on both sides of the stairs
  2. Ensure that if the stairs are carpeted, none of it is loose
  3. Never place loose rugs at the top or bottom of any stairway

 

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