Just as growing older allows for a more relaxed lifestyle, it can also present new obstacles and challenges. As we age, changes in vision, hearing, and balance can affect our perception of space and how we get around. Each year, many older Americans are injured in and around their homes as a result of hazards that are easy to overlook, but also easy to fix. Looking for these hazards and taking some simple steps to correct them can help to prevent injuries before they occur. At Global Healthcare Services, we care about the health and safety of you and your loved ones, and we want you to be secure in your home. Use our safety checklist to spot possible safety problems which may be present in and around your home, and keep it handy as a reminder of safe practices to live by.
General In-Home Safety
Are the floors within the home easy to walk on?
- Walking surfaces should remain consistent throughout the home and be slip resistant, such as rough tile and carpet with short, dense pile.
- Make certain that any throw rugs, runners, and mats throughout the home are slip resistant, tacked, and/or taped down to prevent trips and falls.
- Use non-skid cleaners, polishes, and waxes on floor surfaces.
- Wear flat, comfortable, non-slip shoes inside the home.
Are rooms and hallways easy to navigate?
- Ensure there is enough space to walk through the room and arrange furniture so that it is easy to maneuver around and not within the path of traffic.
- Electrical cords are placed along walls, not under rugs, and away from traffic areas.
- There is enough space to walk through the room, leaving clear passageways for traffic.
- Glass doors need decorative markers so that they will not be mistaken for open doors.
Is lighting adequate throughout the home?
- Elocate night lights throughout the home for ease of navigation late at night.
- Light bulbs should be checked and replaced periodically.
- Light switches should be located so that the homeowner does not need to walk through darkened areas to reach them.
- Touch lights and clap-on clap-off lights help make life easier.
- Keep flashlights within reach in case of a power outage.
Are stairways safe?
- Emergency numbers should be kept close to every phone.
- Purchase phones with larger keys for ease of dialing.
- Have a volume control for both the headset and the ringer to adjust as necessary.
Is the bed easy to get in and out of?
- Ensure that there is plenty of room to walk around the bed.
- A night light is used to brighten the way to the bathroom at night.
- If assistance is needed, adjustable or electric beds and mattresses are great for helping a homeowner gets in and out of the bed safely.
- If necessary, “trapeze” bars can be installed to lend a helping hand with getting out of bed.
Are frequently used and necessary items within reach of the bed?
- If mobility aids are used, they should be kept convenient and within easy reach.
- Have an adequate sized nightstand or small table for the telephone, glasses, and any other important items.
- Make sure that there is a lamp or light switch within reach of the bed.
Is the bathtub/shower stall easy to get in and out of?
- Place non-skid mat or strips on the standing area of the tub/shower to prevent accidental slipping.
- Install grab bars on the walls near the bathtub, as well as the toilet.
- Use shower seats or transfer benches to assist with balance while bathing.
- Install a handheld showerhead with a flexible hose to minimize unnecessary movement of feet.
- Bathtub/Shower doors are glazed with safety glass or plastic.
Is the sink simple to use?
- Install extended hand levers on the faucet or use a single lever, mixing faucet (both hot and cold water) to make using the sink easier.
- Hot water heater should be regulated to prevent accidental scalding or burning.
Is the bathroom easy to navigate?
- Bathroom flooring should be slip-resistant, matte-finished, textured tile, or low pile commercial carpet.
- If bath mats are used, make certain that they have a skid-resistant backing or that they are tacked or taped down to prevent movement when walked on.
- The bathroom has even lighting without a glare.
- Make certain all sharp corners have pads on them.
- Make sure all of the controls have been clearly marked or labeled. Appliances such as stoves often have small print that can be difficult to read.
- Ensure that there is a functioning timer or buzzer on the stove to serve as a reminder to turn it off when not in use.
Is everything stored correctly within the kitchen?
- All items should be labeled properly and easy to read.
- Pot holders should be kept within reach when cooking and handling hot items.
- Frequently used items should be stored at waist level to avoid having to reach or bend constantly.
- A fire extinguisher should be readily available and inspected or checked on a regular basis.
- Avoid the use of stepladders or step stools which can be dangerous.
Is there adequate lighting in the outdoor areas of the home?
- Entryways, steps, porches, and driveways should be well-lit at night so that all areas are clearly visible.
Are the outdoor areas of the home easy to navigate?
- All steps and walking surfaces should be level and in good condition.
- Walking surfaces should also provide good traction (textured surfaces) and be free of clutter (i.e. leaves, snow, ice).
- Step edges should be clearly marked and visible to help avoid potential trips and falls.
- Door thresholds need to be low to the ground to prevent tripping when walking in and out of the home.