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Home Safety Checklist for Seniors: 10 Steps for a Safer House

Written by OurParents Staff
 about the author
12 minute readLast updated February 12, 2024

Your elderly loved one probably wants to stay in their own home as they age, but many homes aren’t built to be safe and accessible for seniors. Fortunately, a few easy changes can help keep your loved one safe and independent as they age in place. To make your elderly family member’s home safer, start by understanding the unique challenges they face, such as difficulty seeing or walking as well as they once could. Then, use those challenges to determine what you can do to make their home better fit their current needs. Use these 10 tips to help you get started.

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1. Look for potential hazards in each room of the house

Walk through each room with your loved one, identifying potential hazards that could lead to falls or injuries. Keep a notepad to jot down observations. Create an actionable home-safety checklist for you and your loved one, so you can remain aware of the changes necessary for a safer living environment.
Look for:
  • Anything likely to fall at an inopportune moment
  • Anything your loved one could bump into in the dark
  • Any trip hazards
  • Potential locations for home monitoring systems
  • Anything someone would have to step over — especially if it requires a high step

2. Rearrange furniture

Create clear pathways in every room to minimize the risk of tripping or bumping into furniture. This includes rearranging or removing certain pieces of furniture to create a safer space and reduce the likelihood of injury.

3. Get rid of tripping hazards

Especially for seniors with decreased mobility, rugs can be a major tripping hazard. Consider removing rugs and mats or securing them firmly to the floor with double-sided grip pads.

4. Add more lighting

Improving visibility is a key way to keep seniors safe at home. Start by installing low-wall lighting near steps and obstacles and placing lights under kitchen cabinets for better visibility during food preparation. You can also use affordable stick-on tap lights in areas that need extra illumination. In all instances, opt for cordless lights to avoid tripping hazards.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

5. Install smart lighting solutions

Smart lights, which can be controlled by a phone or a smart home assistant, are great devices to keep seniors safe at home. Alternatively, clapper-activated lights are an equally effective solution. After installing these lights, your loved one can turn them on remotely, ultimately reducing the risk of falling in the dark.

6. Reorganize cabinets for better accessibility

Standing on a chair or stepladder to reach high cabinets poses an unnecessary risk for seniors. Instead, move important or frequently used items to lower shelves in kitchen and bathroom cabinets and closets. If the space lacks additional storage, consider standalone organizational carts that can be conveniently rolled or locked in place.

7. Equip bathrooms with grab bars

Because bathrooms can be particularly hazardous for seniors, grab bars are fundamental pieces of home safety equipment. Installing these safety measures can help seniors maintain balance and prevent falls.

8. Make the bathtub safer

Walk-in tubs can significantly increase bathing safety for seniors. You can also consider other home safety improvements for seniors’ bathrooms, such as shower seats or benches.

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9. Hire a regular cleaning service

Maintaining cleanliness is a large part of keeping seniors safe at home. A clean home minimizes the risk of pest infestations and the accumulation of harmful bacteria or allergens. Consider hiring a professional cleaner to keep the house safe and sanitary.

10. Consider a medical alert system

A medical alert system provides peace of mind by ensuring that your loved one won’t face a medical emergency alone. These systems are crucial for monitoring seniors and ensuring quick assistance during emergencies, making them an integral part of home safety for seniors. You can also look into bed alarms for seniors that alert you when your loved one gets up from bed if you are concerned about limiting unsupervised wandering.

What to do when aging in place isn't working

Once fully implemented, these guidelines provide a strong basis for establishing a caring and secure home environment for your elderly loved one. Ensuring home safety for seniors is vital, and it’s achievable with thoughtful changes. With patience, empathy, and the right resources, you can make your loved one’s home fit their changing needs and allow them to peacefully continue living in their preferred location.
However, home modifications can only help so much in certain situations. There may come a time when your loved one is no longer safe living at home alone. In-home care services can help extend their independence, but a move to senior living might be necessary to ensure their well-being and your peace of mind. Assisted living communities and memory care communities can be a boon to older adults. If you’d like assistance exploring senior care options in you area, contact our Senior Care Advisors.


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OurParents Staff

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