Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Tips for Senior Home Safety (Part 2)
Throughout my years of practice in home health care Occupational Therapy, I have seen how the majority of seniors live; sometimes not very safely! We all get set in our ways and resist change but sometimes that change is necessary to keep us safe and independent in the comfort of our home. In part two of our Home Safety blog we will focus on tips to improve safety in living rooms, bathrooms (the site of many home accidents or injury), bedrooms, and the outdoors. Embrace these changes and enjoy a healthy and long life.
- Electrical cords are placed along walls, not under rugs, and away from traffic areas.
- Chairs and couches are sturdy and secure.
- Chairs and couches are not too low or too deep to get in and out of easily.
- Chairs and couches have full arms to aid in sitting or rising.
- The light switch is located near the entrance.
- There is enough space to walk through the room, leaving clear passageways for traffic.
- Furniture that might be used for support when walking or rising is steady and does not tilt.
- The bathtub or shower has a nonskid mat or strips on the standing area.
- Bathtub or shower doors are glazed with safety glass or plastic.
- Grab bars are installed on the walls by the bathtub/shower and toilet.
- Toilet safety frames are also helpful for getting on and off safely.
- Shower has a hand-held showerhead with flexible hose.
- The towel bars and the soap dish in the shower stall are made of durable materials and are firmly installed.
- The shower or tub has a single-lever, anti-scald mixing faucet, or the water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Bathroom flooring is matte-finished, textured tile or low pile commercial carpet (not throw rugs or bathmats).
- The bathroom has even lighting without glare.
- The light switch is located near the door.
- The bathroom door opens outward.
- The bathroom has a safe, supplemental heat source and ventilation system.
- The outlets are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that protect against electric shock.
- A night-light is available.
- If needed, an accessible shower or tub can be installed.
- Consider installing a high toilet. Raised toilet seats or commodes over the toilet are also helpful if getting off the toilet is a challenge.
- Shower chairs or a tub transfer bench, with adjustable height legs, are a safe option for seated showering and transferring while seated, for the latter choice.
- If possible, bathe only when help is available.
- You keep a lamp or flashlight within reach of your bed. Periodically check the batteries.
- A night-light is used to brighten the way to the bathroom at night.
- You have plenty of room to walk around the bed.
- You have an adequate-sized nightstand or small table for the telephone, or cell phone, glasses and other important items.
- There is a sturdy chair with arms where you can sit to dress.
- The bedroom has wall-to-wall, low-pile carpeting or a smooth-surface floor covering.
- You use a bedroom on the first floor of the home if necessary.
- Steps and walkways are in good condition.
- Handrails are sturdy and securely fastened.
- Doorways, steps, porches and walkways have good lighting.
- Porches, balconies, terraces, window wells and other heights or depressions are protected by railings, closed with banisters, closed with fences, closed with accordion gates, or are otherwise protected.
- Hedges, trees or shrubs do not hide the view of the street from the driveway.
- Security lighting is installed outside the house.
- Garage doors are easy to operate, even when snow is piled against them.
- The garage is adequately ventilated.
- Sweep up fallen acorns and other debris from trees.
You can also consult your local Home Builders association and request a Certified Aging in Place specialist (CAPS).