Home Safety Checklist for Older Americans
Making small changes in your home can decrease your risk of accidents and falls. Check each item as you make changes that can keep you healthier and safer in your home.
- Place night lights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.
- Have light switches accessible at room entrances.
- Eliminate glare with window shades.
- Remove throw rugs, rugs without a slip-resistant backing, and extension cords.
- Keep pathways clear of furniture and clutter.
- Secure all carpet edges.
- Have light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Install sturdy handrails.
- Mark top and bottom steps with bright paint or tape.
- Keep stairs in good repair and free of clutter.
- Wear proper fitting shoes with low heels and non-slip soles.
- Avoid wearing stockings and slippers without soles.
- Keep the telephone in an easy-to-reach location.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers near the telephone.
- Consider "Life-line," or plan a telephone check with family or friends.
- Use large, easy-to-read numbers or voice amplifiers if necessary on the telephone.
- Install grab bars in the tub/shower and by the toilet.
- Use a rubber mat in the tub/shower.
- Use a shower chair and/or hand-held shower nozzle.
- Remove the door lock to ensure access in an emergency.
- Set the thermostat on the water heater at 120°F or less.
- Mark stove controls so "off-on" settings are clear.
- Store frequently used items on accessible shelves.
- Wipe up spills right away (even small ones).
Yard and Entrances
- Repair cracks in pavements and holes in the lawn.
- Install adequate lighting for walkways.
- Install and use dead-bolt locks on outside doors.
- Install wide-angle peepholes on outside doors.
- Keep entrances and pavements clear of snow and ice.
- Use medications as directed.
- Never take someone else's medication.
- Always verify the medication before you take it. Don't take medication in the dark.
- Keep medications out of reach of children and others who may misuse them.
- Promptly dispose of outdated and no longer used medications.
- Renew/refill your medications ahead of time so you don't run out of medicine.
- Lock all doors and windows when away from home.
- Keep valuables out of easy view.
- Be aware of telephone fraud. Never give your credit card or social security number over the telephone. Learn how to protect yourself from financial exploitation.
- Install smoke detectors and check batteries regularly.
- Plan an escape route to exit bedrooms quickly.
- Never smoke when tired or lying down.
- Don't leave burning candles unattended.
- Inspect your furnace and chimney every year.
- Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords.
- Check and maintain heating and cooling units to prevent fires.
- Remove ammunition from guns before storing them.
- Store guns and ammunition separately in locked cabinets.
- Wear a medical ID bracelet.
- Always wear a seat belt when riding or driving a vehicle.
- Be alert to dangerous weather situations.
- Wear sunscreen, hats, and long sleeves to prevent sun burn.