Elderly Home Safety Checklist and Assessment Guide

Ensuring the safety and well-being of elderly loved ones living independently is a top priority for family members and caregivers.

As we age, our homes can present unforeseen challenges and potential hazards.

The good news is research shows falls can be prevented.

Conducting a comprehensive home safety assessment and following a detailed checklist is crucial for creating a secure and comfortable living environment. This is especially important to protect the safety for seniors living alone.

In fact, a simple checklist could be the difference between a fall and a phone call.

Don't wait for an accident to happen before taking action to ensure your elderly parent's home is a safe haven.

In this guide, we'll provide a room-by-room elderly home safety checklist, addressing common hazards and suggesting modifications to make each area safer and more accessible. We'll also discuss the importance of conducting regular home safety assessments and offer tips on identifying and prioritizing potential risks.

Download Now: Elderly Home Safety Checklist


Comprehensive Home Safety Checklist for Seniors

This detailed checklist will guide you through various areas of the home, highlighting potential hazards and recommending solutions to mitigate risks.

Living Room

The living room is often the heart of a home, where family and friends gather to relax and socialize. For seniors, it's essential that this space remains safe and comfortable, minimizing the risk of accidents and promoting independence.

Living Room Safety Checklist

Furniture:

  • Ensure chairs and sofas are sturdy and at an appropriate height for easy sitting and standing.
  • Consider adding armrests for additional support.
  • Opt for furniture with firm cushions that won't sink or shift, making it easier to get up.
  • Arrange furniture to create clear pathways, allowing for easy movement with walkers or canes.
Lighting:
  • Install bright, even lighting throughout the living room, including table lamps and floor lamps.
  • Ensure light switches are easily accessible and at a comfortable height.
Flooring:
  • Remove or secure throw rugs to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Consider using non-slip mats or rugs in areas prone to spills.
  • If carpets are present, ensure they are low-pile and well-maintained to avoid trips.
Electrical cords:
  • Keep electrical cords away from walkways and secure them to the wall to avoid tripping.
  • Use cord covers or organizers to keep cords tidy and out of sight.
  • Avoid overloading outlets and use surge protectors when necessary.
Clutter:
  • Keep the living room tidy and free of clutter to prevent falls.
  • Regularly declutter and remove any unnecessary items from the space.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are a common site of falls and injuries for seniors, primarily due to slippery surfaces and potential challenges with mobility. Implementing safety measures in the bathroom is crucial to minimize the risk of falls and ensure a safe bathing experience.

Bathroom Safety Checklist

Grab bars:

  • Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub to provide support and prevent falls.
  • Ensure grab bars are securely mounted to the wall and can withstand weight.
  • Consider using grab bars with textured surfaces for added grip.
Shower/bathtub:
  • Use non-slip mats or adhesive strips in the shower or bathtub to prevent slips.
  • Consider a shower seat or transfer bench for added stability during bathing.
  • Install a handheld showerhead for flexibility and ease of use.
  • If using a bathtub, consider a bathtub transfer board for safe entry and exit.
Flooring:
  • Ensure bathroom floors are dry and non-slip.
  • Use bath mats outside the shower or tub to prevent slips when stepping out.
  • Consider using non-slip tiles or flooring materials specifically designed for bathrooms.
Lighting:
  • Install bright lighting in the bathroom, especially near the vanity and shower area.
  • Use nightlights for nighttime visibility and to avoid disorientation.
Toilet:
  • Consider installing a raised toilet seat or adding a toilet safety frame for easier sitting and standing.
  • Ensure adequate space around the toilet for easy maneuverability.
Faucets and controls:
  • Choose lever-style faucets that are easier to grip and operate than traditional knobs.
  • Mark hot and cold water controls clearly to prevent scalding.
Storage:
  • Keep frequently used toiletries and supplies within easy reach to avoid excessive bending or reaching.
  • Use non-slip organizers or shelves to keep items secure and prevent them from falling.

 

download printable home safety checklist

 

 

Bedroom

The bedroom should be a haven of rest and relaxation, offering a safe and comfortable environment for seniors to recharge. Addressing potential hazards in the bedroom can help prevent falls and injuries, ensuring a good night's sleep and overall well-being.

Bedroom Safety Checklist

Bed:
  • Choose a bed that's easy to get in and out of, considering the height and firmness of the mattress.
  • Consider a bed rail for additional support if needed, especially for those with mobility issues.
  • Use non-slip pads under bed legs to prevent the bed from moving.
Lighting:
  • Place a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the bed for nighttime visibility.
  • Consider bedside lamps with touch controls or voice-activated lighting for added convenience.
  • Use nightlights in the bedroom and hallway for nighttime navigation.
Flooring:
  • Remove throw rugs or secure them with non-slip pads to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Choose a flooring material that is not slippery when wet.
Clutter:
  • Keep pathways clear of clutter to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Organize belongings to ensure easy access and a tidy environment.
Electrical cords:
  • Secure electrical cords to the wall or floor to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Use extension cords sparingly and ensure they are not frayed or damaged.
Furniture:
  • Arrange furniture to create clear pathways, allowing for easy movement with walkers or canes.
  • Consider adding a sturdy chair for dressing and undressing.
Temperature:
  • Ensure the bedroom is well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Use a humidifier in dry climates to prevent respiratory issues.
Phone and emergency contacts:
  • Keep a phone within easy reach of the bed for emergency calls.
  • Create a list of emergency contacts and place it in a visible location.

Kitchen

The kitchen is filled with activity in many homes, but it can also present numerous safety hazards for seniors, especially those with mobility issues or cognitive decline. By addressing potential risks and making simple modifications, you can create a safer and more functional kitchen environment for your elderly loved one.

Kitchen Safety Checklist

Appliances:
  • Regularly check appliances for frayed cords or other signs of damage. Replace or repair any faulty appliances promptly.
  • Ensure appliances are easy to operate and have clearly marked controls.
  • Consider using appliances with automatic shut-off features to prevent accidents.
Cabinets and countertops:
  • Store frequently used items in easily accessible cabinets and drawers.
  • Consider using pull-out shelves or lazy Susans for easier access to items at the back of cabinets.
  • Use a step stool with a handrail for reaching high shelves, and ensure it is sturdy and stable.
Flooring:
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent slips and falls.
  • Use non-slip mats or rugs in areas prone to spills, such as near the sink and stove.
  • Choose flooring materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
Sharp objects:
  • Store knives and other sharp utensils in a secure location, such as a knife block or drawer.
  • Keep sharp objects out of reach of children and pets.
Fire safety:
  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in the kitchen and test them regularly.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach and ensure everyone knows how to use it.
  • Never leave cooking unattended, especially when using the stovetop.
  • Turn pot handles inward to prevent accidental spills and burns.
Lighting:
  • Ensure adequate lighting throughout the kitchen, including under-cabinet lighting for task areas.
  • Use brighter light bulbs if necessary to improve visibility.
  • Install nightlights for nighttime navigation and to avoid accidents.
Chairs and stools:
  • Provide a sturdy chair or stool for sitting while preparing food or washing dishes.
  • Ensure chairs and stools are at a comfortable height and have non-slip feet.

Stairways and Hallways

Stairways and hallways are high-traffic areas that can pose significant risks for seniors, especially those with mobility challenges or vision impairments. Ensuring these areas are well-lit, clutter-free, and equipped with proper safety features is crucial for preventing falls and accidents.

Stairways and Hallways Safety Checklist

Handrails:
  • Ensure handrails are securely mounted on both sides of the stairway.
  • Handrails should be easy to grip and extend the full length of the stairs.
  • Consider adding non-slip grip tape to handrails for added traction.
Lighting:
  • Install bright lighting in stairways and hallways, with switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Use motion-sensor lights for nighttime safety and to conserve energy.
  • Ensure light switches are easily accessible and at a comfortable height.
Carpeting or treads:
  • Use non-slip carpeting or treads on stairs to prevent slips.
  • Ensure carpets are well-maintained and free of wrinkles or tears.
  • Consider using contrasting colors for stair treads to improve visibility.
Clutter:
  • Keep stairways and hallways clear of clutter, such as shoes, boxes, or other items that could cause tripping.
  • Regularly declutter and remove any unnecessary items from these areas.
Flooring:
  • If using hardwood or tile flooring, ensure it is in good condition and free of cracks or uneven surfaces.
  • Consider using non-slip mats or rugs in hallways to prevent slips caused by wet shoes.
Obstacles:
  • Remove any furniture or objects that could obstruct pathways or create tripping hazards.
  • Secure any loose rugs or mats with non-slip pads.

Entryway

The entryway serves as the first and last impression of a home, and for seniors, it's crucial that this area is safe and welcoming. Potential hazards like uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and slippery floors can lead to falls and accidents. By addressing these concerns, you can ensure a smooth and secure transition in and out of the home.

Entryway Safety Checklist

Lighting:
  • Ensure the entryway is well-lit, both inside and outside the house.
  • Consider using a bright porch light for nighttime visibility.
  • Install motion-sensor lights for added convenience and security.
Steps:
  • If there are steps leading to the front door, install handrails on both sides for support.
  • Ensure steps are in good repair, with even surfaces and non-slip treads.
  • Consider adding a ramp for wheelchair or walker accessibility if needed.
Floor mats:
  • Use non-slip mats inside and outside the entryway to prevent slips caused by wet shoes or debris.
  • Choose mats that are absorbent and easy to clean.
  • Avoid using mats with high edges that could cause tripping.
Doorway:
  • Ensure the doorway is wide enough to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs if needed.
  • Install a peephole or security camera for added safety.
  • Consider a door handle that is easy to grip and operate.
Clutter:
  • Keep the entryway clear of clutter, such as shoes, bags, or other items that could cause tripping.
  • Provide a designated space for shoes and other belongings to maintain a tidy entryway.
Lock and keys:
  • Ensure locks are easy to operate and consider installing a deadbolt for added security.
  • Keep a spare key in a secure location in case of emergencies.

Exterior

The exterior of a home is just as important as the interior when it comes to senior safety. Potential hazards like uneven walkways, poor lighting, and overgrown vegetation can increase the risk of falls and accidents. By maintaining a well-maintained and safe exterior, you can ensure that your loved one can enjoy their outdoor space with confidence and peace of mind.

Exterior Safety Checklist

Walkways and driveways:
  • Keep walkways and driveways clear of debris, snow, and ice.
  • Repair any cracks or uneven surfaces that could cause tripping.
  • Consider using non-slip coatings or materials for added traction.
  • Ensure adequate lighting for nighttime visibility.
Steps and ramps:
  • Ensure steps and ramps are in good repair and have secure handrails on both sides.
  • Use non-slip treads on steps and ramps to prevent slips.
  • Consider installing a ramp for wheelchair or walker accessibility if needed.
Lighting:
  • Install motion-sensor lights around the exterior of the house for nighttime safety and security.
  • Ensure lighting is bright enough to illuminate pathways and entrances.
  • Consider using solar-powered lights for energy efficiency.
Railings and fences:
  • Ensure railings and fences are sturdy and in good repair.
  • Repair any loose or damaged sections promptly.
  • Consider adding additional railings for support on steps or slopes.
Landscaping:
  • Keep lawns and shrubs trimmed to avoid obstructing walkways or creating tripping hazards.
  • Remove any dead or overgrown vegetation.
  • Secure any loose stones or gravel on pathways.
Outdoor furniture:
  • Ensure outdoor furniture is sturdy and stable.
  • Choose furniture with comfortable seating and appropriate height for easy sitting and standing.
  • Secure any umbrellas or awnings to prevent them from blowing over in windy conditions.
Garage and sheds:
  • Keep the garage and sheds organized and clutter-free.
  • Ensure adequate lighting for safe navigation.
  • Secure any hazardous materials or tools.

Accessing Help in an Emergency

Consider the following options for ensuring elderly loved ones can quickly access help in an emergency:

  • Remote Caregiving System: Use technology, like JubileeTV or apps for senior caregivers, to stay connected with elderly loved ones, monitor their well-being, and provide support remotely.
  • Video Calling: The best video calling devices for seniors allow you to place video calls without any intervention from your loved one. This technology can be invaluable in critical situations. They allow you to quickly get eyes on your senior before you escalate. 
  • Home Security System: Install a home security system with features like medical alert buttons and fall detection.
  • Medical/Fall Alert System: Provide a medical alert pendant or bracelet that can be worn at all times, allowing seniors to call for help in an emergency.
  • Emergency Contact List: Create an easily accessible emergency contact list with phone numbers for family members, neighbors, and medical professionals.
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Conducting a Home Safety Assessment for Seniors

Regular home safety assessments are essential tools for caregivers to identify and address potential hazards. 

Follow these steps to conduct a thorough assessment:

  1. Identify Common Hazards: Use the checklist above to systematically inspect each area of the home for potential risks. Look for items that could cause trips or falls, obstacles in pathways, inadequate lighting, and potential fire hazards.
  2. Assess the Need for Safety Modifications: Once you've identified potential hazards, determine if any modifications are needed to make the home safer. This might include installing grab bars, improving lighting, removing tripping hazards, or adding non-slip surfaces.
  3. Prioritize Changes Based on Risk Level: Not all modifications need to be made immediately. Prioritize changes based on the level of risk they pose to your elderly loved one. Start with changes that will have the most significant impact on safety and well-being. As a dementia caregiver, for example, you may focus on modifications that allows you to bring in dementia care technology to ensure safety and wellbeing. 

    Taking proactive measures to address home safety concerns can significantly enhance the quality of life for seniors living independently. By conducting regular home safety assessments and implementing necessary modifications, you can help create a secure and comfortable living environment where your elderly loved one can thrive.

    Remember, maintaining a safe home is an ongoing process. As your loved one's needs change, it's important to reassess their living environment and make adjustments as necessary. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can help ensure their safety and well-being for years to come.