Home Safety- Tips for Older Adults

Many buy houses before retirement. It’s one of the biggest purchases in life and maintaining it takes a lot of work. Not only is general maintenance important, but the inside of the home, its order, its layout is also equally important. Many think about the ways that they can be hurt outside of the home, but what about the inside?

With an increase of older adults living alone, it’s important to make sure that their home is safe. Things to consider: burns, poisonings, and falls are some of the most common accidents involving older people. It’s also no secret that generally, older adults are targets for crimes so, its extremely important to think- safety first.

Let’s discuss ways to keep a home safe for older adults.

Important Contacts/ Phone Numbers

  • 911 for police/ambulance/fire
  • 1-800-222-1222 for poison control
  • In case of emergency: family, friends, doctors, etc.

Safety Tips for Inside the Home

Getting Rid of Clutter: Decluttering helps clear out rooms and walkways. It’s important to have room to move around to reduce the number of trips and falls.

Checking for Stair Handrail Safety: This applies to everyone. Tightened handrails are necessary because loose handrails can lead to accidents- at any age.

Mitigating Fire Risk: Install a smoke detector and replace the battery as recommended. Keep heaters 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire and/or burn.

Large Rug Removal: Older adults that use walkers, canes, and even shoes can trip. Removing the rugs means the ability to navigate in the home more safely.

Prevent Poisoning: Install a carbon monoxide detector near all bedrooms, and be sure to test and replace the battery as recommended. As for cleaning products, the avoidance of mixing chemicals like bleach and ammonia is important- they can create deadly gases.

Stairs/Steps/Ledges: Things to look for: uneven steps, loose floorboards, and loose/ripped carpet.

Furniture: Cover furniture corners to prevent injuries if you accidentally bump into them.

Proper Lighting: Clearly lit paths/hallways are always a great thing. Consider night lights.

Safety Tips for Outside the Home

Safety outside of the home is equally important. A simple walk to the driveway has unforeseen dangers lurking. Check out the tips below:

Driveway Safety: during the winter months, it’s important to keep the walkway to the driveaway, and the driveway salted and/ or sanded to keep the snow melting.

Garage: It’s a great idea to have an automatic opening garage door.

Spare Keys: Never leave those under the mat or anywhere outside your home.

Porch and Decks: These should be kept clutter-free and clear from debris.

Other Safety Considerations

Consider a walk-in tub, raised toilet seat, and smart devices. Don’t use an oven to heat the home and if using a space heater, remember to keep them 3 feet away from other objects and turn them off before bed. Torn electrical wires should be thrown away and never overload power sockets.

It’s always ok to hire a professional to fix and install things around the home. Some older adults would benefit from doing this, instead of putting their safety at risk.

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