Senior’s Home Safety Checklist
Like many people, seniors value their independence. So much so that as they get older, the very thought of a moving to a retirement home or even assisted living facility creates anxiety. Seniors may continue an independent lifestyle for many years until they experience a major event or illness in their life or to themselves. Once this happens seniors may struggle with the normal day to day care of themselves and their property and household.
With this in mind it is important for seniors and their family members to plan for retirement and old age, and to make small adaptations to a home to ensure their home is safe for them to live in.
Planning While the Sun Shines
While most municipalities are fortunate to have a good range of assisted living accommodation, retirement homes, and care homes, most senior citizens are happier with independence and when in their own homes. When in our 50s and when our children have flown the nest, it is best to start planning for retirement. Whether we want it or not, it will hit us eventually. These are good times to ensure the house is in good repair and will not wear out in the next 20 years or so. It is also a good time to invest in green technology like solar panels, good insulation to cut down on heating costs, and to make the garden easier to handle.
The Home Safety Checklist
A seniors hove needs to be a safe and easy place to move around. This means working from room to room through a checklist. The main priorities should be to ensure there are no fire risks and no trip risks. Every year tens of thousands of people visit hospitals in Canada as a result of falling or tripping. A large proportion of these are elderly people with 60% of deaths due to falls worldwide involving people over the age of 75. To ready a home for seniors perform the following checks:
- Fire Safety: check and replace the wiring, install smoke alarms in the bedroom and other rooms. Plan, practice and document a safe escape route in case of a fire.
- Bedroom: Easy to reach phone and flashlight near the bed if need be.
- Bathroom: Put non-slip surfaces on the floor and in the bath and shower. Have walk in baths and showers if possible. Sturdy towel rails and hand rails are a must.
- Staircase Safety: Ensure you have even stairs, a well fitted carpet if you have one, a solid bannister, and if needed, a chair lift.
- Kitchen: Install a fire extinguisher in an accessible location, use fire safe stoves and ovens, no clutter or things which could catch fire if near the oven or stove top, and good ventilation.
- Living room: Follow recommended maintenance and installation requirements for chimneys and fire places, secured rugs, avoid using extension cords, ensure all cords and wires are in a location to prevent being tripped over, install grab rails on stairs and in bathrooms, and remove loose or sharp furniture like coffee tables.