Senior Safety Guide
Learn about the basics of home safety for seniors
Easy access into and out of the home is essential for a safe exterior environment. Ensure handrails are installed where necessary, and that walkways, porches, and decks are level and free of any intrusions.
Nighttime should be met with a reasonable amount of lighting around the home. Check with local laws to ensure your lights are within community guidelines.
Install strong deadbolt locks on all doors going into the home, especially front and back doors.
Spare keys should be left with a trusted caretaker or family member and not left in a "secret" spot outside of the home. Potential burglars keep on the look out for spare key around a targeted home.
For home security purposes, seniors should never appear that they are not home. Mail should regularly be getting picked up from the mailbox, lights should be on at night, and caretakers should maintain proper landscaping.
All carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be regularly inspected as per the manufacturer guidelines. If the senior is unable to test, a caretaker should be aware of detector functionality.
As with the home exterior, the interior should be well-lit, and easy for seniors to navigate around at any given time of day.
Light switches should be available at both the top and bottom of a staircase for ease of visibility.
When family is visiting, any prescription drugs, knifes, or other potentially harmful items should be out of reach from children.
Caretakers should ensure that floors as kept as clean as possible at all times.
A fire extinguisher should be within reach at all times, and should be tested visually and functionally on a regular basis. Reach out to your local fire department for assistance.
As with the general interior, make sure that prescription pills are kept in a child-proof, yet consistently placed area at all times. Caretakers who look after seniors with dementia need to place extra care in ensuring pills are kept in the same place, and are being taken as needed.
No-slip socks or similar footwear should be worn while walking around non-carpet surfaces to prevent falls.
Food should never be left unattended while cooking.
Kitchenware such as pans and pots should have two handles for extra security.
Handles should be installed in the shower/bathtub for ease of getting in and getting out.
A transfer seat is a good idea for seniors who have a hard time getting out of the bathtub. Caretakers may also want to consider installing a shower that allows the senior to simply walk in and out without having to step over anything.
Water heaters should be set to no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent burns.
Install a non-slip mat or grip tape inside the bathtub to minimize slippage.
Have at least one nightlight plugged in each bathroom.
As with the rest of the home, the basement should be as free of clutter and intrusions as possible. If the senior is unable to arrange home items in an organized fashion, it might be necessary for the caretaker to do so.
Flammable/combustible liquids should not be stored inside the basement, or anywhere in the house.
All home heating devices, including HVAC and water heater, should be inspected as per manufacturer guidelines.
Extension cords in unfinished basements should not be trailing across the floor. Install hooks or covers that keep cords up on a wall and away from the floor.
Seniors should have at least three emergency contacts - nearby neighbors if possible - on hand to reach out during situations.
Consider a monitored medical alert system such as a bracelet or whistle that alerts a company (such as ADT) that you are in need of critical help.
Light-effort exercise such as walking can improve cardiovascular health as well cognitive ability.
Heavy machinery or hazardous material should never be handled by a senior alone. Caretakers should assist seniors whenever possible.