Home Sweet Home, Made Safe | Five Important Aging in Place Safety Checks

A trip home is a great time to perform an important safety check for successful aging in place.  Your goal is to make a list and check it twice.

  1. Check the doors, windows and outdoor lighting.  Before walking inside, take a critical look at the exterior.  Is there outdoor lighting?  Do the exterior doors and windows securely close and lock?

  2. Look for tripping hazards.  Take a look at the flooring underneath your feet.  Are there breaks in the floor?  Look at the rugs and carpets in the home.  Do they move?  Other tripping hazards to remedy are extension cords, stacked materials and pet toys.

  3. Bathrooms are perilous. Slow down while inside the bathroom.  Take a good look around.  Check all the fixtures making sure they work properly.  Physically shake them.  (Many senior adults use the ceramics and spigots as grab bars to steady themselves.)  The tub/shower represents one of the major fall hazards for senior adults.  How about installing some grab bars?  Check the flooring: water and loose rugs don’t mix.

  4. Kitchen safety.  The holidays are not representative of everyday life but there are plenty of clues for you to find.  Rearrange the cabinets!  Place the most frequently used dishes and cookware in easy to reach cabinets.  Bending over to pick up heavy skillets or pots is a potential hazard.  China, crystal, glass and tchotchkes should be placed up high or boxed and stored for safekeeping.  Don’t forget to check all the appliances to make sure everything is in safe working order.

  5. Wait for dark and sneak into the bedroom.   This task is vital for home safety.  Role play what is feels like to get out of bed and lumber to the bathroom in the dark.  Before standing up from bed, try to reach for a light.  None available?  When first standing, is there a piece of furniture close by to reach out with one hand to get your balance?  Now walk toward the bathroom... what tripping hazards do you encounter?  

Make a list of all the potential hazards, label the list “holiday gift suggestions” and share it with family.  Mitigating home safety problems may not wrap up in pretty paper and a bow, however, these gifts have long lasting and profound impacts.

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