These tips for seniors can help keep you and your loved ones safe. Approximately one-third of adults age 65 years or older fall in their homes each year, resulting in injury, long-term disability, and premature loss of independence.
General Home Safety
- Consider a medical alert system.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and smoke detector on every floor.
- Never smoke when alone or in bed.
- Always get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Take your time, and make sure you have your balance.
- Wear proper-fitting shoes with low heels.
- Use a correctly measured walking aid.
- Remove or tack down all scatter rugs.
- Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
- Avoid using slippery finishes on floors.
- Wipe up spills promptly.
- Avoid standing on ladders or chairs.
- Have sturdy rails for all stairs inside and outside the house, or, if necessary, purchase a stairlift.
- Use only non-glare 100 watt or greater incandescent bulbs (or the LED equivalents.)
- Make sure that all staircases have good lighting with switches at the top and bottom.
- Make sure that staircase steps have a non-slip surface.
- Leave a light on in your bathroom at night.
- Use recommended bath aids, securely installed on the walls of the bath/shower stall, and the sides of the toilet.
- Skid-proof the tub.
- Use door locks that can be opened from both sides.
- If possible, bathe only when help is available.
- Keep floors clean and uncluttered.
- Illuminate work areas.
- Mark “on” and “off” positions on appliances clearly and with bright colors.
- Store sharp knives in a rack.
- Use a kettle with an automatic shut-off.
- Store heavier objects at waist level.
- Avoid wearing long, loose clothing when cooking over the stove.
- Make sure food is rotated regularly and check expiration dates.
- Review your medicines frequently with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Make sure medicines are clearly labeled.
- Read medicine labels in good light to ensure you have the right medicine and always take the correct dose.
- Dispose of any old or used medicines.
- Never borrow prescription drugs from others.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you mix alcohol and your drugs.
Basic Emergency Items for Seniors – Keep these items in a clearly labeled container so they can be easily found and used in case of an emergency.
- A battery-powered radio.
- Two battery-powered flashlights.
- Extra batteries for hearing aids, flashlights, and radios.
- A first-aid kit – make sure its contents are appropriate for the older adult.
- An extra pair of glasses.
- Extra equipment or medical supplies such as wheelchair batteries or oxygen.
- Medical alert wallet card or bracelet – something that identifies hidden medical conditions if an older person can’t talk.
- A list of prescription medications and dosage amounts.
- A list of the names and phone numbers of physicians and emergency contacts.
- Make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector near all bedrooms.
- Keep all medications in their original containers.
- Ask your pharmacist to put large-print labels on your medications.
- Take your medications in a well-lit room so that you can see the labels.
Protect Against Abuse
- Keep your windows and doors locked at all times.
- Never let a stranger into your home when you are there alone.
- Talk over offers made by telephone salespeople with a friend or family member.
- Always ask for written information about any offers, prizes, or charities and wait to respond until you have reviewed the information thoroughly.
- Do not let yourself be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or making donations. It is never rude to wait and discuss the plans with a family member or friend.
Information provided by Age Safe America.