Caregivers in Illinois and Missouri that we talk with each week often express their concern for a loved one living at home alone. While they don’t want to prevent them from remaining independent and in their own home, they also don’t want them to be at risk for a fall. Many older adults have lived in their homes for several decades and their homes might not be the safest environment for them in their present condition.
We thought caregivers might benefit from having a simple tool to use room-by-room to help identify risks that could contribute to a fall.
Stairways are free from clutter, throw rugs, extension cords and other items that may create a fall risk.
Good lighting is in place over all stairways. This includes an on/off switch at both the top and bottom of stairways.
Hand rails are in place and in good condition.
The home is throw rug free, including entry areas and doorways.
Carpeting and thresholds between rooms are level and secure. Uneven thresholds and torn or bulging carpets create a risk for falls.
There are no extension cords running across carpets or floors creating a tripping hazard.
Furniture arrangements allow for wide pathways and easy mobility around the room.
Good lighting is available in every room. Nightlights are in place in key areas such as stairways and bathrooms.
Secure grab bars are in place near the toilet and tub in each bathroom.
Towel bars should not be used (or placed where they might be used) as grab bars.
Bathtub is modified to allow fall free access. A secure bath tub chair should also be considered.
A raised toilet seat is in place if needed.
Knobs on stove can be turned on/off without reaching over the burner. Fire risks are created when older adults with loose or long sleeves reach across open flames or electric burners.
A small, easy-to-use fire extinguisher is stored in an easily accessible place in the kitchen.
Stove top burners are free from clutter including curtains and kitchen towels.
Pathway near the bed and from the bed to the bathroom is clutter-free, including free from electric cords.
Grab bar by the bedside to help get in/out of bed without leaning/pulling on furniture.
Flashlights are placed on or near bedside table and in key living areas of the house.
All exterior doors have motion sensitive lights over them.
Sidewalks are free of cracks that may present tripping hazards.
Exterior stairs all have sturdy hand rails.
Water heater is set at a safe temperature to prevent burns.
Furnace/cooling system has twice a year inspections.
All exterior doors and windows lock securely.
Medication management system in place.
There are working phones in all rooms with large numbers that make it easier for older eyes.
Non-skid shoes and slippers are on hand in convenient locations for your loved one.
Working smoke detectors are in place on each level of the home. Batteries are changed at least twice a year.
Carbon monoxide detector is in place and tested regularly.
A home alarm or medical alert system is in place.
Decals/signs for the home alarm system are displayed in front of the home to discourage break-ins.
We hope this helps you make a thorough safety assessment of your loved one’s home. If you would like to learn more about in-home safety for seniors, NIH SeniorHealth has additional resources you may find to be of help.
Are there other safety tips you have found helpful to follow for your parents? ACM Care can help if an accident happens, just give us a call at 314.293.0697.