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June 10, 2024

Nine (9) Crucial Home Safety Tips for Older Adults

A survey by the National Poll on Healthy Aging [1] revealed that 88% of adults aged 50-80 feel it is important to remain in their homes for as long as possible, with 62% rating it as very important. 

In the same survey, only around 15%, have carefully considered the modifications their home may require to age at home.

The consequences of this lack of consideration are what have led to the results of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study [2]:

  • Among adults aged 65 to 74 years, 74.6% of falls occur at home
  • For those aged 75 to 84, 79.9% of falls occur at home
  • Among those aged 85 and older, 83.8% of falls occur at home.

While aging at home helps you live the senior life of your dreams, you must plan for it and one of the ways to do that is to make your home safer for you, reduce fall risks and other hazards, and implement accessibility features.

This article discusses home improvement tips to help you protect your home or your loved one's home against potential safety hazards. 


Why is Home Safety Crucial for Aging in Place?

As we get older, our bodies may become weaker and more prone to falls or accidents. Making our homes safe can reduce the risk of these incidents happening. This means taking steps to create a secure environment.

Here are some reasons why home safety is crucial for aging in place:

  • Preventing falls: Falls can lead to serious injuries like broken bones or head trauma. Making simple modifications to your home, such as installing handrails, removing clutter, and improving lighting, can greatly reduce fall risks.
  • Maintaining independence: If you want to maintain your independence as you stay in your home for as long as possible, ensuring your home is safe allows you to continue to perform daily activities without relying heavily on others.
  • Avoiding accidents: A safe home environment helps prevent accidents that can occur due to hazards like loose rugs, slippery floors, or poorly maintained stairs.
  • Managing health conditions: Many older adults have health conditions that require special attention and care. You can create a safe home environment that makes it easier to manage your conditions and avoid complications.
  • Peace of mind for loved ones: When you live alone, your family often worries about your safety. By ensuring home safety, you can provide peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones.

Simple safety modifications throughout the home can make your life easier and improve your comfort and safety when living at home.


A Comprehensive Home Safety Checklist for Aging Adults

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28.7% of individuals aged 65 and older have reported experiencing at least one fall within the past year.


Using the checklist below, you can prevent these potential hazards and make your home safer:


1. Lighting

  • Ensure that all areas of the home are well-lit, especially stairs, hallways, and entrances.
  • Use bright light bulbs or install adjustable lighting to accommodate varying needs.
  • Install night lights in constantly used rooms and spaces.
  • Consider installing motion sensor lights to illuminate certain areas automatically.

2. Stairs and Steps

  • Install handrails on both sides of staircases.
  • Ensure that stairs are in good condition, with non-slip surfaces and securely fastened carpeting.

3. Bathroom Safety

  • Add grab bars near the toilet, bathtub, and shower to provide support and stability.
  • Use nonslip mats or adhesive strips in the bathtub and shower.
  • Consider a shower chair or bench for added safety and convenience.
  • Ensure the water heater temperature is set at a safe level to prevent scalds.

4. Bedroom Safety:
   - Place a nightlight near the bed for easy visibility during the night.
   - Keep a phone or emergency call button within reach of the bed.
   - Ensure the bed is at an appropriate height for easy entry and exit.


5. Kitchen Safety

  • Organize frequently used items within easy reach, avoiding the need to reach overhead or bend down low.
  • Install a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in the kitchen and ensure they are in working order.
  • Use non-slip mats under rugs or consider removing rugs to prevent tripping.

6. General Home Safety

  • Remove clutter and ensure clear pathways throughout the home.
  • Secure loose carpets or rugs with non-slip backing or double-sided tape.
  • Install handrails on both sides of hallways, if needed.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are in good working condition, with secure locks.
  • Consider installing a home security system or medical alert system for emergencies.

7. Electrical Safety

  • Make sure electrical cords are not frayed or in the way.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets and use surge protectors.
  • Ensure that all rooms have easy access to electrical outlets for convenience.

8. Fire Safety

  • Install smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in each room and regularly test them.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home and learn how to use it.
  • Have a fire escape plan and ensure all family members are familiar with it.

9. Emergency Preparedness

  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit easily accessible.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers, including family members, neighbors, and healthcare providers.
  • Have a backup power source or alternative lighting in case of power outages.

Remember, this checklist is a starting point, and your needs may vary, depending on the current state of your home, your health condition, or your financial position.


It's always a good idea to consult with a professional or occupational therapist who can assess your home and provide personalized recommendations for safety modifications.


Source; The National Council on Aging


Products and Services to Help Older Adults Age in Place Safely

Here are some products and services, including smart home devices, that can help you or your beloved senior age in place safely:


1. Emergency Response Systems

These systems include wearable medical alert devices or home-based units that can be activated in emergencies. They allow you to call for help with the push of a button and can provide peace of mind to you and your loved ones.


2. Smart Home Security Systems

These systems offer features like video doorbells, motion sensors, and remote monitoring capabilities. They enhance home security and can provide real-time alerts to caregivers or family members in case of any unusual activity.


3. Smart Lighting

Smart lighting systems can be controlled remotely or through voice commands, allowing aging parents to easily adjust lighting levels without reaching for switches. They can also be programmed to turn on and off automatically, enhancing safety and convenience.


4. Home Monitoring Systems

These systems use sensors and cameras to monitor various aspects of the home, such as movement, temperature, and even air quality. They can enhance fall prevention, detect unusual patterns or emergencies, and send alerts to caregivers or family members.


5. Medication Management Devices

These devices help seniors manage their medications effectively, especially if they have cognitive issues like Alzheimer's and dementia. They can provide reminders to take medication, dispense the correct dosage at the right time, and alert caregivers or healthcare providers if medications are missed.


6. Smart Home Assistants

Voice-activated smart home assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home can assist with tasks, answer questions, and provide entertainment. They can also be programmed to control other smart devices in the home.


7. Home Automation Systems

These systems help ensure the automation of various home functions like adjusting thermostats, controlling appliances, or opening and closing blinds. This can reduce physical strain on older adults and make their daily routines more convenient.


8. Telemedicine Services

Telemedicine allows older adults to receive medical consultations and monitor their health remotely. Through video calls or online platforms, healthcare professionals can assess their condition, provide guidance, and monitor vital signs.


9. Aging in Place Services

Aging-in-place services cover various support and assistance designed to help you or your loved parent live independently at home. These services include home modifications, in-home care by trained caregivers, healthcare planning, care management, and companionship.

The goal is to provide you with the necessary resources and support to maintain your quality of life, safety, and well-being while aging in the comfort of your familiar surroundings.

At Kendal At Home, we specialize in making a home safer and more secure for older people while offering other services that guarantee a more fulfilled life with no worries as you age. 

We believe home care and modifications are only one aspect of safety when choosing to age in place. Care management, a healthy aging plan, and care coverage are other crucial aspects for you or an aging loved one.

Remember, when considering any products or services, it's important to assess individual needs and consult with professionals who can provide tailored recommendations for aging in place safely.

Speak with us today and let's help make your aging life more fruitful and enjoyable all around.


Final Words

Prioritizing home safety for seniors is paramount to ensure their well-being, independence, and peace of mind. Implementing simple measures like proper lighting, grab bars, non-slip surfaces, and clutter-free walkways can significantly reduce safety concerns and prevent falls and other accidents.


Furthermore, technologies like medical alert systems, fall detection devices, and smart home devices can enhance safety and provide additional support.

Healthy aging is hard on your own. Kendal at Home can help you age well and enjoy your retirement.

Register for a Seminar to Learn More


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