How to Reduce Hazards in Your Home
Home hazards can lead to accidents and falls which are the leading cause of emergency room visits for older adults. The good news is that many accidents can be prevented. If you’re a caregiver to someone who lives at home, evaluating the environment for hazards and putting measures in place to make it safe, are important features of a care plan.
Here are some ideas to consider to keep your home safe and reduce the risk of accidents:
Check for any even cracks on the pathways
Install a secure handrail on the steps
Keep the path clear of snow and ice
Keep front entrance well lit.
Assess if you clearly see and hear visitors who come to the door
Remove any unnecessary clutter, books or newspapers
Make sure the walkways are clear
Remove scatter rugs or other tripping hazards
Install plenty of lights that are easy to turn on with touch sensors, clapping, or accessible switches
Make sure electrical cords are tucked away and out of pathways.
Remove any expired food in the fridge
Keep the pantry well stocked
Store items that are used frequently on lower shelves or easily accessible. Make sure your loved one doesn’t have to bend down or get on a stool to reach something.
Hang heavy items on hooks on the wall.
Remind your loved one to never use a chair for climbing.
Put a telephone by the bed
Install a lamp within reach
Keep a flashlight by the bed
Make sure there is a clear path to and from the bedroom and the bathroom
Ensure that there is enough room next to the bed for the person to use their walker or wheelchair
Have a night light in the hallway
Remove small rugs
Keep them free of clutter.
Install handrails on both sides.
Put non-slip treads on each step.
Remove any loose or torn carpet.
Install grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub
Use a raised toilet seat and a shower bench
Use non-slip adhesive strips or a mat in the bathtub
The bathroom is a main area to pay attention to as many falls happen here.
Install a motion-sensored night light
Install smoke detectors and test them at least twice a year
Laundry and Garage:
Provide a small, lightweight laundry basket or bag
Purchase smaller bottles of detergent
Remove any dangerous or expired chemicals
Most older adults want to stay in their home. If you care for a parent or older adult, make sure it’s safe for them to do so. Think about the future and plan ahead.
You don’t want to be the person who says, “we were afraid something like this would happen”.
Rosanne Burke is a Dementia Care Consultant, trainer, and speaker. She helps family caregivers feel more confident and competent in their caregiving role with training and resources. She's also a marketing consultant, a freelance writer and owner of Keji Consulting. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.