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Home Safety for Your Aging Parent

Each year, hundreds of thousands of older Americans are injured in and around their homes.  Many of these injuries result from hazards that are easy to overlook and could have been avoided.

Specific modifications and home repairs can be made that will make your aging parent or other family member's surroundings safer and more functional.  Research suggests that as much as one-third to one-half of all home accidents can be prevented through basic home modifications and repair.

It can be a daunting path; people are suddenly thrust into unknown realms of responsibility and must take care of themselves as well as the one needing direct attention.  BUT THERE IS HELP.  The following lists are a good place for you to begin a personal home safety evaluation.  Print this page using the print icon at the top and take it with you the next time you are visiting.  Call RLSafeHome for further assistance at (603) 601-7105

Exterior Approach

  • Is the sidewalk in good repair?
  • Would a ramp be helpful?  Doorway hand holds?
  • If there are steps, are they skid-free?  Is a railing properly secured?
  • Is the doorlock well maintained?
  • Is it easy to get the mail?

Interior - General

  • Are smoke detectors in working order?  Is there at least one on each floor?
  • Is the heater in working order?  Have the filters been cleaned or changed?  Is the heater set at an appropriate temperature?
  • Are all space heaters located where they will not get knocked over?
  • Are any extension cords or outlets overloaded?  Are any outlets warm to the touch?
  • Are doorways, hallways and steps unobstructed?
  • Are steps well maintained with skid-free surfaces?
  • Are handrails or grab bars present where needed?
  • Is the lighting in the house bright enough? (As we age we require more light.)  Is the lighting non-glare?
  • Are there at least a few lights on timers?
  • Is the doorbell loud enough?
  • Are all of the utilities in working order?
  • Are all medications in the containers they came in and clearly marked?
  • Are all poisons clearly marked and segregated?
  • Is there an emergency exit plan?
  • Is the water temperature 120 degrees or lower?
  • Are the fuses or circuit breakers (in the central fuse box / main panel) the correct size for the circuits?

Telephones and Computers

  • Would your elder benefit from phones with large numeric keypads and enhanced audio systems?
  • Is a single phone sufficient or would a number of phones, strategically placed, be better?
  • Are emergency numbers posted in large easy-to-read print?
  • Would your elder use a computer (to communicate with family members, pursuing personal interests, making new friends, etc.)?
  • Would an emergency response system be useful in case of a fall?

Living Room

  • Is the furniture functional?  Can your elder get in and out of chairs and couches easily?
  • Are end tables sufficiently stable to support your elder if she suddenly leans on them?
  • Are all carpets tacked down?  (Edges should not be sticking up.)
  • Are lights non-glare and bright enough for reading?
  • Has a professional cleaned the chimney within the last year?

Kitchen Area

  • Are all the appliances well-maintained and safe?
  • Is it easy for your elder to reach the daily essentials like dishes, pots and pans, food, garbage, etc?
  • Is there a stable stepstool available for reaching things in high cupboards?
  • Do outlets have safety breakers on them?
  • Is their sufficient non-glare light?
  • Have all drapes and flammables been moved away from the stove?

Bathrooms

  • Are all medications, including over-the-counter medications, in easy-to-open containers that are well-marked?
  • Are faucets easy to turn on and off?
  • Are grab bars needed and in place?
  • Would a raised toilet seat help?
  • Are the bath tub and shower floors covered with a non-stick surface?
  • Would a sturdy tub bench or chair be helpful?

Bedroom

  • Can your elder get in and out of bed with safety and ease?  Is the bed too high?
  • Is a light and phone easily accessible from her bed?
  • Would a nightlight be useful?
  • Is the floor uncluttered?

Who can do the installation and repairs for any home safety or mobility aids you choose?

  • Do it yourself or...
  • CALL RLSafeHome at (603) 601-7105