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Home Safety for Seniors: 10 Tips to Help Your Loved One Age Safely at Home

Written by Kristen Hicks
 about the author
12 minute readLast updated March 29, 2023

Many older adults wish to age in the comfort of their own home. However, most houses aren’t designed with senior safety in mind. From trip hazards like rugs, stairs, and high thresholds to slippery bathrooms, there are many potential risks throughout the home. Taking the right precautions and making some simple changes can improve home safety for seniors who wish to age in place.

Key Takeaways

  1. Aging at home poses safety risks. By taking steps to minimize hazards throughout the house, you can help your loved one can age at home more safely.
  2. Reorganizing rooms can minimize fall risks. Moving furniture, removing rugs, and reorganizing cabinets can reduce the likelihood of trips and falls that could lead to serious injury.
  3. A medical alert system can offer peace of mind. These devices contact medical professionals in the event of a fall or emergency, quickly getting your loved one the help they need.
  4. Home care aides can help your relative age in place safely. Having someone to help out around the house can minimize the likelihood of injury while offering companionship and personal assistance.

An elderly home safety checklist: 10 steps to a safer house

If your loved one has chosen to age at home, there are steps you can take to minimize fall risks and potential injury. Making these 10 changes can help keep your relative safe and increase your peace of mind.

1. Go through each room of the house looking for potential hazards

As you move through the house, look out for anything that might be likely to cause a fall or injury. Keep a notepad with you as you go room to room with your loved one to make a record of everything you need to change. Identify all the potential hazards, even if they seem fairly minimal, so you can turn your notes into a to-do list of things to update to make the home safer.
Think about:
  • Anything likely to fall at an inopportune moment
  • Anything your loved one could bump into in the dark
  • Any trip hazards
  • Anything someone would have to step over — especially if it requires a high step

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2. Rearrange the furniture

You want every room to have clear paths to navigate without the risk of running into or tripping over anything. That may mean having to rearrange furniture to move obstacles against the wall or otherwise out of the way.
You may have to get rid of some items in the room that don’t really fit anywhere out of the way. If it makes the space safer and reduces the likelihood of injury, the loss will be worth it.

3. Get rid of rugs

While they can definitely add some nice aesthetics to the space, rugs present a danger to seniors. The edges can be a tripping hazard, and whenever the rug bunches up, the upraised spots become a safety risk as well.
No matter how much you enjoy the visual appeal they bring to a room, it’s not worth risking a serious fall. Your loved one may choose to give rugs with sentimental value to friends or family, or to put them in storage.

4. Add more lighting

The better your loved one can see what’s around them, the more they reduce the risk of running into things or tripping over something. Add lighting low on the wall anywhere in the home where there’s a step or obstacle. Lights can also be added under kitchen cabinets to better illuminate food prep areas and prevent potential cooking injuries.
You can buy inexpensive stick-on tap lights as an easy solution in a lot of the spaces that need more light. And as much as possible, try to stick with adding lights that don’t require cords that could become trip hazards.

5. Reorganize cabinets for better accessibility

Standing on a chair or stepladder to reach high cabinets poses an unnecessary risk. Try moving important or frequently used items to lower shelves in kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
You may need to get creative or buy some new organizational products to start storing some of the items that used to live in high-up cabinets on your counters. Even if it makes the space look a little more cluttered, the convenience and increased safety of keeping items accessible is worth it.

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6. Install smart lights or the clapper

You never want to find yourself in the position of having to walk across a room or up or down the stairs in the dark to get to the light switch. Consider installing smart lights that can be turned off and on with a phone or a smart home assistant like Alexa. Or, for a less technical solution, try lights that you can clap to activate.

7. Add grab bars in the bathroom

Well-equipped bathrooms are key to home safety for elderly adults. Bathtubs become hard to step over. Wet floors are a slipping hazard. And getting on and off the toilet can become a difficult process as mobility decreases.
Installing grab bars strategically around the space can help with balance as your loved one navigates the bathroom.

8. Make the bathtub safer

In addition to grab bars, consider the various options available to make getting in and out of the bathtub easier. While walk-in tubs are heavily advertised, you can find a number of affordable or more practical alternatives that may be easier to implement. The right tools can make the fraught process of taking a bath or shower each day much safer.

9. Hire a regular cleaning service

Cleaning may not seem like part of keeping the home safe, but some more physical chores can require significant physical strength or exertion, potentially leading to injury. Plus, a dirty home can lead to pest problems, harmful bacteria, and accumulation of allergens.
To keep the house safe and sanitary in the long term, consider hiring someone to help with the around-the-house cleaning chores your loved one may have a hard time managing by on their own.

10. Consider a medical response system

One of the greatest fears many family members of seniors have is the possibility of their loved one getting hurt or suffering a medical emergency with no one around to call for help. A medical alert system helps ease that fear by monitoring a senior’s well-being and immediately alerting emergency services and loved ones when a senior experiences a fall or other medical emergency.

Home care aides can help increase home safety for seniors

If your loved one is no longer able to age safely at home alone, consider looking into home care options. Care aides can help your relative with activities of daily living like bathing and using the restroom, which can become difficult or unsafe over time.
Our Senior Care Advisors can help guide your family as you search for the right home care fit. They’ll answer any questions you may have, discuss your loved one’s budget and needs, and schedule interviews with local agencies — all at no cost to you.


Meet the Author
Kristen Hicks
Edited byDanny Szlauderbach

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