Home Safety Checklist for Seniors


General Safety Precautions

  • Develop an emergency exit plan in case of a fire. This plan should include a meeting place outside your home to ensure that everyone has escaped.
  • Safely hide house key outside and consider giving your neighbor a set for emergencies.
  • Inform neighbors of any safety features in home that may restrict entry to your home.
  • Notify local police department if your family member is memory impaired or has dementia.
  • Leave the Emergency Information Front-Door-Bag on the inside of the front door in the event of a medical emergency.
  • This bag contains health information, emergency contacts and general information specific to the individual.
  • Take away house keys and car keys when necessary and disarm or hide controls for automatic garage doors.
  • Keep flashlights in different parts of your home readily available, and check their batteries regularly.
  • Keep items you use often accessible and easily reachable.


All Areas of the Home

  • Be certain that there is adequate lighting throughout the house and install nightlights.
  • Reduce clutter and remove furniture that is hazardous and may move when leaned on.
  • Remove or lock up sharp objects/breakable items and remove all firearms from home.
  • Ensure lamp, extension and telephone cords are placed out of the flow or traffic area.
  • Secure loose and hanging cords and tuck them out from beneath furniture and rugs or carpeting and do not run cords across walkways.
  • Do not attach cords to the wall and baseboard with nails or staples.
  • Regularly check electrical cords for frays and cracks.
  • Make sure you use the properly rated extension cord for use with appliances. If an extension cord is needed, use one having a sufficient amp or wattage rating.
  • Avoid polished floors that may be slippery and remove all non-skid resistant rugs and runners.
  • Use only slip-resistant rugs or runners.
  • Check rugs and mats periodically to see if backing needs to be replaced.

Telephone Area

  • Emergency numbers (i.e. Police, Fire Department, local Poison Control, Family and Neighbor’s contact information) should be written in large print and posted on or near the telephone area.
  • Find a phone with large number pads and large speed-dial keys that can be programmed with important numbers.
  • Supply telephone with direct dialing system for emergency/important numbers.
  • Have at least one telephone readily accessible in the event of an accident which leaves you unable to stand.
  • Make sure that there are working smoke detectors on every floor.
  • Test your smoke detector batteries regularly (at least twice a year).
  • Be certain that no outlets or switches are unusually warm or hot to touch.
  • Ensure all outlets and switches have cover plates so that no wiring is exposed.
  • Check that all electrical cords are free of frays. Put childproof plugs in outlets
  • Lock up cleaning supplies, chemicals and poisons and install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Put opaque or reflector tape on glass doors and picture windows
  • Put reflector tape on furniture corners, hallways, bedrooms to create a path to follow at night.
  • Store all prescription and over the counter medications safely away and clearly labeled.
  • Keep medication away from extreme humidity and temperature.
  • Use appropriate size and type of light bulb for lamp or fixture.
  • Keep electric fans out of reach. Cover radiators with radiator guards.
  • Supervise or restrict smoking, use safety ashtrays and keep matches/lighters out of reach.
  • Lock up valuables, important papers and documents and have system for safe mail retrieval.
  • Regularly check all plumbing and utilities to ensure they are working properly.
  • Relocate small stoves and space heaters away from passageways and flammable materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture, etc.
  • Wood burning stoves should be installed by a qualified person according to local building codes.

Entrance

  • Always keep floors and walkway uncluttered and doorway accessible.
  • Make sure there is a safe entry into the house or apartment and that secure railing is available.
  • Provide viewing of visitors prior to entry when possible.
  • Put automatic door closing devices on doors to outside and alarms when needed.
  • Secure doors to outside with double key locks, or high or low locks.

Living Area/Family Area

  • Fireplace and Chimney should be clear from accumulations of leaves or other debris that can clog them.
  • Make sure hallways and passageways between rooms and other heavy traffic areas are well lit.
  • Keep exits and passageways clear of obstructions or clutter.
  • Furnish chairs/sofas that can safely get up/down.
  • Provide auto raising lift chair to assist getting up when necessary.
  • Adapt seating with additional firm cushions to raise seat.
  • Install key locked windows if necessary.
  • Make sure senior is capable of operating all electrical components including television, stereo, telephone, lights, etc.
  • Secure loose and hanging telephone and electrical cords and tuck them under carpeting and furniture and do not run cords across walkways.
  • Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide.
  • Use rugs or runners with slip-resistant backing.
  • Apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of rugs and runners.
  • Repair and re-glue damaged sheet or ceramic flooring to smoothen bumps.
  • Attach carpet stair treads securely.
  • Remove glass topped tables or move them away from traffic areas.

Kitchen

  • Maintain and regularly check to make sure appliances are in working order.
  • Ascertain ability to manipulate sink faucets with hot water temperature settings reduced.
  • Make sure electrical/appliance cords are not dangling near water or stove areas.
  • Ascertain ability to open/close refrigerator/freezer/stove door/ and cabinets.
  • Ascertain ability to reach dishes, pots, utensils, and outlets.
  • Store sharp objects safely away.
  • Keep flammables away from the stove area.
  • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves while cooking.
  • Make sure kitchen ventilation systems or range exhausts are functioning properly.
  • Remove small non-food items that could be swallowed.
  • Cover stove burners, remove knobs/shut-off valves/ and install auto-pilots when needed.
  • Unplug or put away kitchen appliances not in use.
  • Disconnect or camouflage garbage disposals.
  • Ensure even lighting exist over the stove, sink and countertop work areas to avoid burns or cuts.
  • If a step stool is necessary, choose one with a handrail that you can hold onto while standing on the top step. Make sure step stool is stable and in good condition.

Bedroom

  • Locate bedroom near bathroom or furnish bedside commode.
  • Use night-lights to provide nighttime orientation and visibility.
  • Ensure safe transfer in/out bed and remove bed frame if bed is too high.
  • Rent or purchase a hospital bed if needed.
  • Supply bumpers or padding to surround bed if needed.
  • Install reverse locks on doors when needed.
  • Use monitor to listen to activity especially at night.
  • Remove carpeting if incontinence becomes a problem.
  • Install room darkening blinds or shades when needed.
  • Make sure that the phone and light is accessible from bed.
  • Make sure that clothes in the closet/dresser are reachable.
  • Use flame-retardant mattresses, pillows, and sheets and plan procedure for fire evacuation.
  • Remove sources of heat or flame from areas around beds.
  • DO NOT smoke in bed.
  • DO NOT “tuck in” electric blankets or place additional coverings on top of it. This can cause excessive heat which can start a fire.
  • DO NOT go to sleep with a heating pad if it is turned on.

Bathroom

  • Take special care with wet floors.

Bathtubs and Shower Areas:

  • Install at least 1 (preferably 2) grab bars in tub and/or shower area.
  • Check existing bars for strength and stability, and repair if necessary.
  • Attach grab bars, through the tile, to structural supports in the wall, or install bars specifically designed to attach to the sides of the bathtub. Get a qualified professional to install if necessary.
  • Remove any slippery rugs and/or use non-skid mats in the tub or shower, and on the bathroom floor.
  • Apply textured strips on the floors of the tubs or showers.
  • Use a stool with non-skid tips as a seat while showering or bathing, if you are unsteady on your feet.
  • Install hand held shower nozzle.
  • Replace glass shower doors with unbreakable plastic.
  • Install grab bars, safety frame, and/or raised seat with armrests on or near toilet.
  • Remove and/or replace bathroom accessories and decors that are breakable (i.e. cup and soap holders, drinking glasses, etc.).
  • Lock up razor blades, sharp objects, and store away electrical devices.
  • Make certain that light switches, outlets and toilet paper are always accessible.
  • Install a night light or consider replacing the existing switch with a “glow switch”.

Water Temperature:

  • Water temperature should be 120 degrees or lower.
  • Always check water temperature by hand before entering bath or shower.
  • Taking baths, rather than showers, reduce the risk of scald from sudden water temperature change.
  • Store all prescription and over the counter medications safely away and clearly labeled.
  • Dispose of outdated medicines properly.

Stairways (if there are stairs)

  • Provide adequate lighting and ensure steps are free of clutter.
  • Light switches should be located at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Install sturdy handrails along both sides of the stairway. If necessary, install handrails that run continuously from the top to the bottom of the entire flight of stairs.
  • Replace worn treads or loose carpeting on the stairs.
  • Avoid deep pile carpeting or patterned and dark colored carpeting that can make it difficult to see the edges of the steps clearly.
  • Repair, remove or replace worn and torn stair coverings on the steps.
  • Paint outdoor steps with paint that has a rough texture, or use abrasive strips. Replace outdoor stairs with ramps.
  • Paint edges of outdoor steps white to see them better at night.
  • Widen treads or shorten risers if necessary.
  • Put reflector tape on edge of treads to see edge of steps clearly.
  • Install barriers or gates at stairs if necessary.

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services, please call us at 212-614-8057 or email us at manhattan@homeinstead.com. We accept all types of long term care insurance as payment

Best!

Christian and Claudia

"We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of Manhattan's most special people, our CAREGivers."

400 East 56th St. Suite 2 New York, NY, 10022 212.614.8057