Determining how safe a home truly is should be a concern for the homeowner, and is something caregivers should constantly be evaluating. Falls are among the greatest source of injury to older adults!
Below is a checklist for homeowners and caregivers to use as a guide to make homes more safe.
o Are walking surfaces (sidewalks, driveway, etc.) at an appropriate grade, free of cracks and/or tripping hazards?
o Do the stairways/steps have secure handrails?
· Seasonal Concerns
o Is there a leaf/snow removal plan in place?
o In the case of wintery precipitation, is there a plan for treating ice on stairs and walking surfaces?
o Do all exterior doors and windows lock securely?
o Are motion-sensored lights installed on the exterior of the home?
o Are home alarm decals and signs in view to deter break-ins?
o Are the knobs on the stove accessible without reaching over the burner?
· General Maintenance
o Are working smoke detectors in place on each level of the home?
o Is there a carbon monoxide detector in place?
o Is someone inspecting the furnace twice a year?
o Is the water heater set at a safe temperature to prevent burns?
o Do furniture arrangements allow for easy mobility around the room?
o Is the pathway around the bed clear and clutter-free?
o Does the homeowner have non-skid shoes and slippers?
o Are there phones in all rooms?
o Is there a home alarm or medical alert system in place?
o Is there a medication management system?
o Is there a small, easy-to-use fire extinguisher in place in the kitchen?
o Are there secure grab bars in place near the toilet and tub in each bathroom?
o Are the bathtubs/showers modified to allow for fall-free access?
o Are raised toilet seats in place?
o Are grab bars near the bedside to help get in/out of bed without leaning on furniture that may tip over?
o Are the stairways hazard-free?
o Is there the ability to turn on/off adequate lighting at both the bottom and top of the stairs?
o Does the staircase have secure hand rails?
· Trip Hazards
o Is the home throw rug-free?
o Is the carpeting and thresholds between rooms level and secure?
o Are there any extension cords running across carpets or floors?
o Is good lighting easily available in every room?
o Are nightlights in place in bathrooms, hallways, stairways and kitchen?
o Are flashlights near the bedside and in living areas?
Of course there are many more considerations to keep in mind, and depending on the household, there may be less or more concerns.
If after reviewing this list if you feel you are in need of assistance, whether it be to remain at home or to consider moving to a retirement community, please contact us or call 540.385.8720 and let us know how we can help!