MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE

AS YOU AGE AT HOME

Make Your Home Safe As You Age


It is important to consider the safety aspects of the home when you or someone you love wants to remain at home as they age. Use the following checklist as a starting place for safety precautions to take.


GENERAL REPAIRS & IMPROVEMENTS . . .

__ Have a certified home inspector check the plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems.  Repair or upgrade if it is needed, especially if it is old, outdated technology that is unsafe, or not efficient and cost-effective. 

__ Repair or replace broken or damaged appliances.  The cost of replacement is less than the safety hazards they present.

__ Reset the water heater to no hotter than 120 degrees. 
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Make sure . . . 

__ Doorways, hallways and traffic paths are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers 

__ Bathrooms have enough room for wheelchairs and walkers to turn around

__ Flooring is non-slip and non-glare

__ Carpeting is low-pile and securely attached to floor

__ There are handrails on all steps and stairs

__ There are grab bars in bathroom and other areas of need (on patio steps, in 1-step areas, etc.)

__ There is adequate bright lighting in kitchens, bathrooms, and other task, work and sitting areas, as well as nightlighting in bedrooms, hallways and other areas used at night.

__ There is adequate security at all entry areas to the home (i.e., security locks or deadbolts on screen doors, storm doors, main entry doors, as well as garage doors, patio doors, sliding glass doors, screens, windows and doggie doors.

Add . . .

__ Easy-to-grip cabinet knobs, handles and pulls

__ Rocker or touch-type light switches

__ Cordless phone outlets in main living areas and bathroom

__ Automatic garage door opener

__ Low maintenance landscaping

Install . . .

__ Storm windows or double pane windows

__ Weather stripping and other insulation

__ Insulation on water heater, pipes and other areas where needed

__ More energy-efficient (large and small) appliances 
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INSIDE

Bedrooms & Bathrooms . . .

 __ Install a smoke detector in the hallway outside of bedrooms. Check and change batteries regularly.

__ Take a phone with you (or have one available) when you go to the bedroom, bathroom, basement or other area where there is no phone.

__ Place a nonskid bath mat on the floor and a nonskid mat in the tub or shower.

__ Keep electrical cords away from the sink, tub and shower.  Do not use electrical appliances if the water is running or there is water in the sink, tub or shower.

__ Store all prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines in their original containers and in a safe place.  Make sure there is good lighting so you read the labels easily. 

__ Make sure the bed accommodates the needs and comfort of the person(s) using it (i.e., it is sturdy and in good repair; it’s easy to get in and out of; it has handrails or other types of supports if needed).

__ Have a bedside table or nightstand that is easy to reach when in bed for a lamp, clock/radio, a phone and other necessities. 

__ Keep flashlights and batteries by your bed, in the medicine cabinet and throughout the house to help you find your way in case of power outages.

__ Use paper cups in bathroom to avoid spread of germs.

__ To avoid scalding, make certain the tap water temperature is set no higher than 120° F (Fahrenheit).


__ Make sure hallways and stairs are well lit.  (Have on/off switched at both the top and bottom of the stairs. 
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Kitchen, Living Areas & Hallways . . .

__ Store all cleaning supplies in their original containers and in separate cabinets  (away from food items.)

__ Always turn pot handles inward when cooking on the stove to avoid possible spills. Use back burners whenever possible.

__ Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

__ Secure area rugs (or remove them) to prevent falls and slips. Get rid of torn or frayed rugs and carpeting; they can cause falls.

__ Make sure furniture is securely placed and in good repair.  Check to make sure the height, structure and comfort of tables, chairs and sofas accommodate physical needs of the people using them.

__ Eliminate clutter on tables and counters

__ Keep clutter and unnecessary items off the floor - especially in traffic areas, hallways and on the stairs.  These areas should be complete clear for easy, unobstructed traffic.

__ Keep extension cords out of traffic areas and hallways.  (Cords should run along the wall whenever possible, and they should not run under carpets or rugs.)

__ Don’t overload outlets with multi-plug power strip extensions. 
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OUTSIDE

Outdoors . . .

__ Make sure door locks are in good working condition.  Replace  door knobs with latch handles - they are easier to operate for people with arthritic hands.

__ Keep stairs and walkways clear of snow, wet leaves, and other debris.

__ Repair cracks or chips in cement sidewalks, steps and patios.  Make sure sidewalks and walkways are level -  fix or mudjack them to prevent falls.

__ Make certain steps, railings, gates, and fences are secure and in good repair.

__ Make sure all exterior doorways (frontyard, backyard and side doors), the driveway and the garage are well lit. 

__ Determine whether lights with motion detectors in certain areas may be good ideas for certain areas - like the driveway, garage or back yard.

__ Check and repair damaged areas of the roof and gutters if needed.

__ If you have a fireplace, wood burning stove, or other heat source,  make sure it is properly maintained and checked before using it. Place barriers around it to avoid accidental burns, and keep it away from furniture, curtains and other flammable materials, including paper, magazines and cardboard.

__ Have chimneys and stovepipes inspected and cleaned regularly.  If the fireplace is no longer used, have a professional close it up so birds and other critters don’t get in the house.

__ Make certain that hazardous items, such as bug sprays, cleaners, auto care products, and weed killers are secured and in their original containers in the garage, utility room, or basement. 
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MORE HOME SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

__ Rearrange the living space (including bedroom) for 1-story living

__ List emergency numbers in easy-to-read type near each telephone in your house.

__ Keep a current list of medications and other health information and medical instructions (along with the emergency contacts and numbers) at your main telephone area so it’s easily available in case of emergency.

__ Make certain bathrooms and bedrooms can be unlocked from the outside.

__ Keep matches and lighters out of easy reach of visiting children.

__ Get rid of unused paint, paint-thinner and other infrequently used flammables.  If you need to keep them,don’t store them in the house.

__ Make sure the home has at least two unobstructed exits in case of fire or other emergency.

__ Check all electrical cords to make sure they are not cracked or frayed.

__ Make certain that outlets or extension cords are not overloaded.

__ Avoid using space heaters. If they are used, make sure they are in safe condition. Never plug them into an extension cord. Do not place them near drapes or furnishings.

__ Mark what the circuits in the fuse box or breaker box go to for easy identification in case of emergency.  Have a flashlight and batteries close-by.

__ Notify the local police and fire departments if you/the residents in the house are elderly, chronically ill, disabled or incapacitated in some way so they are  better prepared to assist in case of emergency. 
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MAKING YOUR HOME                                         SAFE AND ACCOMMODATING

Wide doorways and no-step entries make homes more accommodating for Seniors who want to age at home.

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As You Age

Make Your Home Safe As You Age

The content on AsYouAge.com is provided as a courtesy for our site visitors. The information, resources, links, advertisements and other material on AsYouAge does not constitute a professional opinion or advice; nor does it constitute an endorsement of any organization or the information, products and/or services they may offer.

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