Home Safety for the Elderly - A Safety Checklist

Basics

As the human body ages, functions begin to weaken, including eyesight, equilibrium and hearing. Here are a few helpful tips to keep yourself or your loved one safe while living at home.

  • Be sure that the bedroom has these 3 things accessible from the bed: Light, Phone, Clock.
  • Rugs can be hazardous - remove throw rugs or tape the edges down to prevent toes from slipping under them during walking.
  • Clutter is dangerous, especially when navigating through a dimly lit house at night. Make sure pathways are clear.
  • Phone lines or power cords running across floors should be re-routed along the wall, taped down when necessary to prevent tripping.
  • Be sure to have functional smoke alarms and a small fire extinguisher handy. Keep instruction manuals and maintenance records.

After hip/back surgery, or fractured leg/foot

  • Be sure that all items kept in bottom cupboards, shelves, closets, or under sinks that are used on a daily basis are moved to higher areas. This is usually a temporary arrangement during the healing process.
  • Be sure to have a basic pot, a few plates and cups, and utensils in easy reaching distance, maybe kept in a dish-drainer on the counter.
  • Frozen foods or easy-to-reach items on the top shelf of a refrigerator will be handy for light meal preparations.
    • Buy milk and juices in half-gallons! A whole gallon of liquid weighs about 8 pounds, often times too heavy for post-surgical times.

After heart surgery

  • Avoid steamy showers and extreme temperature changes.
  • Most surgeons will recommend that you avoid lifting your arms above 90 degrees for a certain period of time - check with your doctor.
  • Lifting heavy objects is generally also not recommended - ask your doctor for specifics and buy grocery items in lighter, smaller containers as needed.
  • Use carts to carry bags or laundry. 4-wheeled walkers will also help with these tasks.

At home with low vision

  • Use bright colors to label/mark important things like light switches, oven/stove controls, phone, etc.
  • Use textures when possible - tape a cotton ball over a flat button so it is palpable.
  • Get a timed medication dispenser with an audible alarm - some will even open on their own.

Home Alone

  • Consider other means of communication with the outside world should immediate assistance be needed. What if you need:
    • Police?
    • Ambulance?
    • Fire Department?
    • Family?
    You might need someone to help you off the floor, or you might need someone to protect you from a breaking and entering. Whatever the situation, be prepared.

Community Resources

  • Homemaker aides can assist with daily chores and basic self-care needs. Find out if your insurance will provide coverage for these services.
  • Adult day-care centers offer a variety of activities, provide lunch, usually have pick up and drop off service, and even have therapy services. Call your local centers to find out about their programs.
  • Don't forget about Meals-on-Wheels.

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Comments 4 comments

Hoodala profile image

Hoodala 9 years ago from Mesa

Welcome to hubpages. Very nice first hub.


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa Author

Thanks so much!


toneyahuja profile image

toneyahuja 6 years ago from India

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Jamie 5 years ago

Ensuring the safety of our old parents’ house is very important to avoid them from meeting accidents inside of it, especially that even a petty accident can already hurt them a lot. And to further secure their safety, I find it very helpful to give them a reliable assistive device. I gave both of parents the Just5 cell phone so they can easily call for help when needed. I learned this from here: www.just5.com

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