Home Safety Checklist for Seniors

For most families, there comes a time when they must decide whether their aging parents are capable of living alone or if they should be moved into an assisted living facility. First and foremost, the health and functional capabilities of your elder play a large role in this decision. If they are healthy enough to live unassisted, then making sure their house is in top safety conditions is the next step. Here are some things you should check out when it comes to the safety of seniors in their home:

  • Is there enough lighting?
    Each room should be well lit so your elder can easily navigate through the house in the dark. We all know that our night vision gets weaker as we age, so adequate lighting throughout the entire household is a must. Adding nightlights to hallways or frequently visited rooms at night, like the bathroom, is also a good idea.
  • Are there smoke detectors?
    Make sure there are working smoke detectors in the house and follow the recommendation of changing the batteries yearly. You should also make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector as well.
  • Are there handrails along the staircases?
    Wherever there are steps, there should be sturdy railings. Senior citizens often struggle with maintaining their balance, and handrails help to make getting around easier. Make sure they are properly mounted and if it is applicable to have one on both sides of the stairwell, install them both. If necessary, having a stair lift installed is a great safety feature for senior citizens.
  • Is there a bathmat/handrail in the shower?
    Staircases aren’t the only place that require handrails. The shower should have one too. This will help your parent keep their balance while bathing and give them something to hold onto while they enter and exit the bathtub. There should also be a bathmat in the tub to help prevent slips and falls.
  • How are the floors/carpets holding up?
    If there are hardwood floors, are there loose boards? If there are carpets, are there rips and  tears? The floors should be an even, clean surface. You don’t want anyone to trip or stumble over any loose boards or lifted parts of the carpet. This also means that there should not be clutter, cords and other random objects on the floor that can get in someone’s path. Even throw rugs are a potential hazard due to their likelihood to move around. If there are throw rugs, secure them to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Where are items that need to be reached daily located?
    If you are in the kitchen, how high are the cabinets? Where is the medicine kept? If anything is too high up for them to reach without assistance, this could cause problems. Is a stepstool needed? If so, make sure it does not wobble at all because you do not want someone to fall off of it. Try and put items that are frequently used in places that are easy to get to and do not require additional equipment to access.
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in the house?
    Hopefully they will never need to use a fire extinguisher, but accidents happen and there should be one somewhere in the house. Forgetting to blow out a candle or a mishap in the kitchen could cause a small fire and your parent should be prepared to put one out if this is the case. Also, make sure they are aware of how to use the fire extinguisher just in case one of these scenarios arises.
  • Is there a phone or emergency alert system accessible?
    Phones are absolutely necessary when someone is living alone because if there is an accident, they will need to call for help. Getting your parent a cell phone would also be beneficial, if they keep it on them, in case something happens when they are out of reach of the landline. If they are completely phoneless, they need an emergency alert system, no questions asked. An emergency alert system can be the only life saver in a situation where there is no phone available or they cannot get up to even get to the phone.

If your senior citizen has the physical strength and ability to maintain their memory and care for themselves on a daily basis, living alone is a possibility. Take the right steps to avoid even the most minor accident, as it can become more damaging if they are not properly prepared. Use this home safety checklist to make sure your loved one’s home is safe from top to bottom.

About the Author

Ruth Folger Weiss loves writing for Willow Spring Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a sub-acute rehabilitation center in Center Brick, NJ.

  • warm heart

    Each time I read it, I

    simply get more amped up for whats next.


  • warm heart

    This was so exceptionally cool and amusing to peruse. I have reveled in this incredible and fun data. This was truly and amusing to peruse. I have delighted in and I need to thank you?

    Living in Frederick

  • http://www.gethomecareohio.com/2016/02/11/5-tips-to-create-a-safe-home-for-your-elder/ 5 Tips to Create a Safe Home for Your Elder – Affordable Homecare of Ohio

    [...] loved ones age, it’s important to make sure the environment in which they reside is safe. Inside Elder Care  offers these tips to ensure that your elder’s home is safe for [...]

  • Assisted Living Evansville IN

    Very good blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Keep it up!We offer beautifully landscaped grounds and a historical building like none other. Stories of life and love have flourished here for over 100 years.

  • http://www.top5reviewed.com/the-top-senior-living-websites-and-blogs/ The Top Senior Living Websites and Blogs – Top5Reviewed: Product Reviews and Ratings

    [...] eldercare experience a positive one for you and your family.” Check out his recent post on conducting a home safety audit for seniors that helps you to safety proof a home for senior living. Another interesting post [...]

  • Joseph Dabon

    If i may add, here are a few things to consider:
    1. Better to have a single light source in the bedroom that is controlled by a remote control. This allows the elderly to sleep in as little illumination as possible, yet can have much light in demand when he/she needs it;

    2. Seniors must not be allowed to sleep on the second floor or even mezzanine. Better to reconfigure the house so the bedroom is in the ground floor;

    3. Never mind aesthetics, I would suggest removing the carpet to totally eliminate tripping hazards. Besides it hampers cleaning and will ultimately be worn out anyway;

    4. Seniors must be given cell phone with medical alert apps so they can immediately call an ambulance when needed

    5. Never, never have a senior use a footstool to reach for something. That is an accident waiting to happen.

    Joseph Dabon – http://www.agewithcharm.com/

  • Arjun

    This is Excellent blog compare to what i visited before. Getting lot of information here. I have treated with mykinhealth they are excellent in caring i am suggesting if any one want to take elder care in hyderabad you may approach them website: mykinhealth.com

  • Patrick Philbrick

    Great article Ruth! Your readers may enjoy a downloadable checklist for going through the home and tracking these items to inspect for home safety:

  • Kyle O’Ren

    Thank you so much for mentioning floor conditions! My mother recently came to live with us and on the first day she very nearly took a fall because of a loose floorboard. We quickly took notice of all of the problems with our floors and had them fixed. I suggest checking all of your floors before bringing a senior care patient in to avoid injury.

  • Satyanand Hospital

    nice blog with great opinion.

  • http://sanmateoca.comfortkeepers.com/ Comfort Keepers

    This was good information sharing..thanks a ton http://sanmateoca.comfortkeepers.com/

  • http://www.homecareassistanceroseville.com David A. Waddell

    These simple and useful tips go a long way in caring for your senior loved ones and making their lives easier and comfortable. By taking adequate home safety measures, you can even assist home caregivers carry out their duties, and save your seniors from getting into any accidents or mishaps.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Ruth, for a great list. People taking care of aging parents should also check out Comfort Life’s excellent collection of advice: http://www.comfortlife.ca/retirement-communities/advice-guide

  • Joseph Dabon

    The article is well-written and quite comprehensive. But I would like to add something to the phone thing in case of emergencies. There should be speed dialing for emergency numbers. Better still, old people should have smartphones with the necessary apps to attend to the emergency needs of seniors – http://bit.ly/2nCmlF2

  • Andrew

    Interesting read! I’ve been doing research on how to make things easier for my parents and find these helpful. I’ve decided to go with carescope to aid my parents.


  • https://www.acmehe.com Wes Rockhold

    Great Article. Stair lift are a great option. https://www.acmehe.com/stair-lifts/stair-lift-cost/

  • Rutuja Patil

    I appreciate the safety checklist for senior which you have mentioned. Even I was always thinking about what can be done to improve health and life safety of elder once.Recently I came across an TV application called “Independa” which takes care of your parents like caregiver and makes your life simplified with technologies like online chat, video calls, medical alert system. Check more features of this TV app at http://www.independa.com

  • John

    Ageing in place is so important, I’m glad that in recent years there has been more awareness towards it!


  • http://seniorhousingtech.com senior housing tech

    Nice post Ryan! Technology is an increasingly important factor in all industries and in our personal lives. While some people are reluctant to embrace change, others realize the need for upgrades and improvements. The broad goal of new technology is to make things more effective and efficient.