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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:

Outside:

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.House clutter

Assess if you clearly see and hear visitors who come to the door

 

Living Room:

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.

 

Kitchen:

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.

 

Bedroom:

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

 

Stairs:Cat on stairs

Keep them free of clutter.

Install handrails on both sides.

Put non-slip treads on each step.

Remove any loose or torn carpet.

 

Bathroom:

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.

 

Hallway:

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 rosanne@kejiconsulting.ca.  

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Director, All Things Aging Parents

 
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