Home accidents are a major source of injuries and can even cause death. The elderly are especially vulnerable to serious injuries from home accidents. Older bones are often less dense, more brittle and break more easily. A simple fall can become a serious, disabling injury that limits independence.
The following Senior Home Safety Check List will help you evaluate the safety of your home and habits. Go through your home and check off those items or behaviors that apply to you. If there are some items that you do not check, then your home is not as safe as it could be. By improving those items, you can make your home a safer and more comfortable place to live.
Useful Senior Home Safety Check List
- Is there adequate lighting at the entrances to your home?
- Check to the conditions of your outdoor stairs, pathways or decks having railings.
- Are your front steps and walkways in good repair and free of clutter, snow or leaves?
- Do the doors ways of your balcony or deck have a low sill or threshold?
- Can you reach the mailbox easily and safely?
- Is the number of your home clearly visible from the street and well-lit at night?
Tip: If you live in a rural area where you do not have a visible house number, consider putting your name on your mailbox and keep at clear description of directions to your home next to each phone in your home.
- Are all the rooms and hallways in your home well-lit?
- Are all throw rugs and scatter mats secured in place to keep them from slipping?
- Are your high traffic areas clear of clutter and obstacles (tops of stairs)?
- If you use floor wax, do you use the non-skid kind?
- Do you have a first aid kit and know where it is located in your home?
- Do you have a list of emergency numbers next to all telephones in your home?
Tip: Have a seating structure installed at the entrance of your home in order to assist with the removal or putting on your shoes or boots.
- Are your stairs well-lit and do they have light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs?
- Are your stairs in free from clutter and in good repair?
- Do the steps have a non-skid surface?
- Are there solid handrails installed to provide added support on both sides of the stairway?
Tip: Always remember to take your time going up and down the stairs. Never Rush. To assist in the prevention of a misstep, a strip of contrast colour can be added on the edge of each step.
- Are there smoke alarms on every floor of the home?
- Do you test your smoke alarms every six months?
- Have you developed an escape route and safety plan in case of a fire?
- Is there a carbon monoxide detector in your home?
- Are all flammable and hazardous materials properly stored and clearly labelled?
- Are there safety certified power bars being to prevent overloading electrical outlets?
- If you live in an older home, have you or an electrician inspected your wiring, fuse box, electrical cords and appliances for safety?
Tip: Remember to check your smoke detectors twice a year.
- Do you test the water temperature before you get into the bathtub or shower?
- Is your hot water temperature set to recommended temperature?
- Do you have non-slip surface products in the tub or shower?
- Do bath mats next to the tub or shower have rubberized backing or are they secured in place to keep them from slipping?
- Do you have a night-light set up in the bathroom?
- Does your bathroom door lock equip with an emergency release?
- Do you have grab bars that have been properly placed and well anchored to the wall in the bath tub or shower installed?
- If you any trouble getting on and off the toilet, do you have a raised toilet seat and a grab bar that is well anchored installed?
- If it is difficult for you to take a shower standing up, have you considered a bath seat?
Tip: Some tile and bathroom cleaning products actually increase the slipperiness of a surfaces. Always keep this in mind when using such products.
- Are your pots and pans, canned goods and staple foods stored in an easy to reach location-between knee and shoulder heights?
- Are heavy items stored properly in the lower cupboards and light items in the higher cupboards?
- Do you have s stable step stool (with a safety rail) for reaching high places?
- Are the “off” and “on” positions on the stove clearly marked?
- Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, mounted on the wall away from the stove that is available to use in case of an emergency?
- Do you do regular checks to make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working order?
Tips: Use heat-resistant oven mitts as they provide a better grip on hot containers and give better protection against splatter and spills.
- Is there a light switch installed near the entrance to your bedroom?
- Do you keep night lights or other sources of light on in case you get up in the middle of the night?
- Do you have a lamp or a light switch installed near your bed?
- Is there a clear path from your bed to the bathroom?
- Do you have a phone and a list of emergency phone numbers located next to your bed?
Tip: Install short bed rails to assist yourself when getting in and out of bed.
- Is your workroom and laundry room equipped with enough lighting?
- Do you have a telephone in the basement and a list of emergency numbers?
- Do you keep floors and benches clean to reduce fire and tripping hazards?
- Are all your tools and services equipment in good condition including the safety locks in the “on” position?
- Is your work area well ventilated, summer and winter?
- Are heavy items on lower shelves or in bottom cupboards?
- Do you use a ladder or a stable stool (with a safety rail) for reaching high places?
- Are all chemicals, such as bleach, cleaners and paint thinners, clearly identified?
- Are flammable materials stored as indicated by the directions on the label away from sources of heat and flame?
- If you have a gas barbecue, is your propane tank stored outside of the house?
If you are a senior or have a senior parent looking for assistance in the Durham Region, please call our office at
905-259-5249 to speak with a professional home improvement specialist.
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