Home Safety Tips for Seniors

As you prepare for retirement you will also need to consider preparing your home to ensure it's safe for you and your family. The first thing to consider is how to safeguard your home to prevent future falls. We have put together a short safety checklist to help you prepare your home. Feel free to share this list with your friends and family! We all want to stay safe at home  for many years to come so be proactive now and ensure your home is safe for you and your family now and in the future.

Here' s our top 10 Home Safety Tips for Seniors

  1. Rugs and Carpets: Ensure all your rugs and floor mats are secure to the floor to prevent tripping. You can use rug tape to fasten your rugs to the floors or remove rugs altogether.
  2. Remove Clutter: Keep high traffic areas free of clutter (ex. hallways, entryways, backdoors).
  3. Safety on the Stairs: Install handrails on all stairs and add non-slip rugs or runners if needed.  If you are having trouble going up and down the stairs, consider installing a stair lift.
  4. Bathroom Safety: Consider upgrading your bathroom with the following safety features:  a bath seat or walk-in tub, a raised toilet seat, a non-slip bath mat, new bright lighting, and grab bars near your toilet and in your tub or shower.
  5. Lighting Inside Your Home: Replace your current light bulbs with longer lasting LED bulbs. You will need to change these less frequently and you will also save money on electricity. It's important to have adequate lighting inside your home to ensure clear visibility to prevent future falls. Consider adding night lights or motion detector lights to your hallways and bathrooms to improve visibility at night.
  6. Supportive Footwear: Consider investing in quality footwear to wear inside your home to prevent falls. Replace your slippers with sneakers or supportive and secure sandals.  We recommend non-slip or anti-slip shoes. 
  7. Outside Your Home: Repair any broken or damaged steps or walkways to prevent future slips, trips or falls. Ensure your outside lights are working properly and install motion light sensors to increase visibility at night.
  8. Bedroom Accessibility: Ensure your bed is easy to get in and out of - if it's too high consider using a step stool to get in and out of bed or consider buying a new bed that is at the right height for you. If you are happy with your current mattress, consider buying a new box spring to raise or lower your bed height. Are your bedside lights easy to turn on and off? Consider buying new lamps that are easy to use and within reach.
  9. Kitchen Accessibility: Ensure your most used kitchen utensils, pots, and heavy appliances are within easy reach (ie. lower drawers or lower kitchen cabinets). If you have some pots or pans that are in a higher cupboard, consider using a sturdy stool to reach them. Be sure to have a  current fire extinguisher in working order in your kitchen ... should you need, and familiarize yourself with how to use it in case of an emergency.
  10. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Have someone check that your home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly every six months. You should have a smoke detector installed on every floor of your home. You may also consider upgrading your detectors to a combination smoke and CO detector which is hardwired, with a battery back-up system, and strobe light indicator for those with hearing loss.

For more information, the Public Health Agency of Canada also provides The Safe Living Guide: A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors.

 

Some Additional Home Safety Tips:

  • Keep a book of emergency phone numbers on hand and near your phone/s. You can also pre-program your landline phone or mobile phone to include a list of emergency contacts such police, fire, 411, friends or family or service repair people.
  • Consider purchasing a medical alert emergency button that you can wear or keep in your kitchen or bedroom in case of an emergency.
  • Have your home assessed by a professional company who will come in and assess the current safety of your home and make recommendations for home improvements to improve accessibility and limit the risk of falls in the future. In Ontario, you can contact Ontario Senior Home Safety Advisor - Senior Home Safety Assessment (seniorliving411.com).
  • Keep a medical kit fully stocked and within reach in your bathroom/s in your home. Be sure to know where this is located in case of a medical emergency.
  •  If you have extension cords or other cables running across your room/s in your home, you should use extension cords and run these cables along the baseboard of your walls. 
  • Watch out for your furry friends! While we all love our pets, they can sometimes trip us. Consider putting a bell on your dog or cat so you can hear them coming and avoid tripping on them.  Here are some additional Tips to avoid tripping over your dog - Fido Universe.