Home Safety Tips for Seniors

home-safety-tips-in-copy-imageDid you know according to the National Council on Aging, an older American is treated in an emergency ward once every 11 seconds because of a fall? The good news is – for seniors who enjoy the independence that comes from aging in place and living in their own homes – the risk of falling can be significantly reduced with a few basic safety precautions. In fact, as you read this article you will see there are many home safety tips for seniors that can help alleviate a variety of common risks in the home, making aging in place safer.

Safety Precautions for Stairs

Both the National Council on Aging and CDC cite uneven and broken stairs as a leading cause of tripping and falling in the home. One simple solution: Hire a skilled carpenter to examine the stairs in your home and make repairs. An equally important measure is ensuring staircases in your home are equipped with secure handrails. If handrails are loose – or if they’ve never been installed – ask your carpenter to reinforce or install handrails. Think of it as a small investment with a big payoff – your safety.

Two even safer methods of reducing the risks that come with stairs are to install a lift chair or an in-home elevator to facilitate more secure travels between floors. Although once thought of as luxury items exclusively for the ultra-, modern technology has changed all that (Chair lifts and in-home elevators are now moderately priced and can be affordably installed.

Safety Tips for the Kitchen

Throw rugs are commonly used to dress up kitchen floors, but they can become hazards when placed on slick surfaces such as linoleum and tile. If you must have a throw rug in the kitchen, a great home safety tip for seniors is to purchase mats with rubberized undersides to minimize the possibility of skids.

Fire is another common kitchen danger. To prevent electrical fires, unplug all small appliances such as toasters and coffee makers when not in use.

Savvy seniors may want to consider purchasing smart stoves with a shut-off feature that acts as a safety measure for the elderly. If investing in high-tech stove is out of your budget, another option may be to install auto-shut off valves for burners. This cost-effective step protects forgetful cooks who may unintentionally walk away from a lit flame.

The dangers of a fire are not limited to just the kitchen, and the best defense is a good offense. Be sure fuses and breakers are working properly to minimize the risk of electrical fires. Install smoke detectors in key areas of the home. A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death from in-home fires by 50 percent, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors

Porcelain and tile tubs and showers can be hazards in the bathroom – as can the rugs and non-sticky mats that decorate them.

Grab bars in tubs and showers provide a measure of safety for everyone, particularly those with mobility issues. A non-slip mat or sticky decals on the floor of the bath or shower further reduces the risk of slipping.

If you are seeking even more safety in the bathroom, consider installing a walk-in tub. It eliminates the high leg lift needed to get in and out of a traditional tub, so it reduces the risk of tripping. And, because walk-in tubs do not require users to lift the legs over the walls of the tub, they can also be beneficial to seniors with mobility issues.

A safe shower is another preventive, and soothing, option. Most offer folding seats that reduce the danger of slipping and falling. Plus, premium safe showers come with hand-held shower heads and hydrotherapy jets that offer a therapeutic massage option to relax aching muscles.

Carbon Monoxide Home Safety Tip for Seniors

The air in our homes can contain hazardous but odorless carbon monoxide from such common appliances as gas dryers and water heaters, generators, heaters, and it can come from fuels that aren’t burned fully, such as coal or wood. Granted, the potential for danger is relatively small: about 170 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning from non-automotive sources, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

If your home has a chimney, make sure the flue is checked regularly to ensure it’s not releasing fumes into your home. If you love to grill, make sure all of your grilling is done outside (and be aware that gas-burning grills cause more fires each year than charcoal grills, according to the National Fire Protection Association). Finally, consider purchasing battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors, which cost about $30, and placing one on each floor in your home (per CPSC recommendations).

Get Expert Advice

If you have any questions about the products discussed in this article or other steps you can take to help make your home “senior friendly,” reach out to us on our Contact Us page and be sure to download our new, informative guide, Safe Home. Happy Home. It’s chock full of informative tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.