Norton Seal Image of  a senior citizen working with her daughter at home.

At Home

Senior Citizen Home Safety Tips

As senior populations advance in age, more are opting to stay home or live with a loved one instead of moving to assisted living facilities. And because of that, home safety for the elderly has never been more important. So, how can the elderly maintain a safe environment as they continue to live independently? By looking carefully at the physical layout of the home and bringing in-home safety professionals to assess it, making the home safe for the elderly is possible.

Use these senior citizen safety tips as a guide to better understand the ways you can reduce the in-home risk for older adults. Our approach to making the home safe for elderly individuals can help you feel better that your home is a senior friendly space.

How to Make Your Home Safe

Whether you’re an elderly person, wondering how to make your home safe as a senior or if you’re preparing to bring in a senior family member curious about how to senior-proof your home, there are easy steps you can take. Here are some home safety tips to prepare your living space from top to bottom.

Get a medical alert system for the house. Simply installing and using a medical alert system can really help older adults reduce the risk of injury. Many Medicaid programs cover some or all of these costs.

Install smart home safety systems. Adding a smart home security system can help seniors feel safe. These systems alert first responders when connected fire and smoke detectors sense trouble.  

Install fire extinguishers. Mount fire extinguishers on every floor in a clearly-visible place.

Tape down the rugs. Scatter rugs are serious slip and fall risks. By using double sided carpet tape, you can help to lock throw rugs down in place and prevent tripping and stumbling risks.

Designate safe smoking areas. We get it. Bad habits are hard to break. That’s why you should consider offering a safe place for elders to smoke. Be sure to get a cigarette extinguisher and consider enrolling your elder into a smoking cessation program.

Correctly fit the walking aid. A very important personal safety tip for elders, be sure that the cane or walker in use is the right size. Opt for adjustable devices that can adjust in height.

The Importance of an Elderly Home Safety Assessment

One of the benefits of safeguarding your home by getting an assessment is that you’ll be working with an industry expert to make the place safe. An elderly home safety assessment can reveal hazards you may not have noticed. And their recommendations can bump up safety at home in ways you may not have considered.  

What is a home safety assessment? A thorough review of likely hazards around the house, a home safety assessment explores issues related to personal injury, flood and fire. It will also identify ways to prevent falls, and mitigate risks that jeopardize resident safety.

A senior home safety specialist knows how to spot risks. A large part of how the elderly maintain a safe environment is dependent on identifying existing safety issues. By hiring a safety consultant to assess your space you’ll be remedying the problems before accidents happen.

Safeguarding the home for the elderly. In addition to building a plan to make the home safe, you’ll find real insights that define how your home is at risk. You’ll also receive recommendations on how to fix the issues.

Home Safety Checklist for Seniors

How do you senior-proof your home? The answer is simple. Do what you can on your own first, safely. Then bring in the outside help to get the rest done. With an able-bodied adult available to perform an ad-hoc inspection, you may be able to take on the task of improving senior safety at home.

Although not a replacement for a home safety assessment for seniors, this list is a good start. You’ll be able to address many common problems by reviewing our home safety checklist for seniors:

Safety Problem
Quick Fix
The elder has to step over the tub to bathe.
Install grab bars in and around the bathing area. Accessibility concerns across the house — like grab bars in the hallways — should also be addressed.
The home’s address is not clearly marked on the outside of the building.
Pick up large address numbers at a hardware store and install them so they’re clearly visible from the street.
Kitchen stepstools are without handles.
How can the elderly maintain a safe environment in the kitchen? Purchase a lightweight, handled one-step stool for use in the kitchen.
Emergency flashlights or equipment is not easily accessible.
Dedicate a drawer in each room that contains flashlights, extra pairs of reading glasses and other frequently used items.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed sparingly.
Pick up dual smoke and CO detectors for each room
Extension cords lay across traffic areas
Re-route cords around doorways or use a different outlet and remove the extension cord.
No emergency contact list is present near land line
Post a list of important emergency contacts near each phone in the home, and next to cell charging areas. Be sure to include Poison Control’s number as well: (800) 222-1222
Doors, hallways and stairs and landings are cluttered with tripping hazards.
Remove the clutter and any cosmetic décor from these areas. Be sure doors are locked at all times, and that door locks are senior friendly.
First-aid kits are hard to find, or missing.
Purchase several first aid kits and keep them stored in well-lit, highly visible areas. Include anti-bacterial ointment, Band-Aids, and instant cold packs.
Frequently used items in the kitchen are not readily accessible.
Relocate all utensils, products and other items to a readily visible area that doesn’t require reaching, bending or special access.
Ensure the microwave is operational.
If not, get it repaired. Replace it with a countertop microwave oven, if necessary.
Can the elder open jars easily?
Consider picking up a jar opening appliance that can do the hard work for them.
The senior has a hard time getting up to answer the phone, or remembering tasks.
Consider getting a smart speaker. New tech in smart home assistants/speakers allow the elderly to turn on lights simply by making a verbal request. Their abilities to help organize and act as a memory aid — reminding the elderly to take medication and of important birthdays — are also key.

Consider Coverage With American Family

As you’re making adjustments and readying your home to be more senior citizen-friendly, be sure to reach out to your American Family Insurance agent. Because you’re doing what you can to keep your home safe, you’re going to want great coverage too. Your agent can review your current insurance plan and help you to safeguard everything that means so much.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: At Home , Home Insurance , Owning A Home , Renters