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20 Tips Home Safety Tips for Seniors

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, February 15, 2017

At some point, you might face a difficult decision: Should you remain in your home, or make the move to an assisted living facility or retirement home? Sometimes circumstances dictate that decision for you, such as when you need round-the-clock specialized care. Other times, though, staying in your own home can be a reasonable conclusion.  Consider the following tips to keep yourself safe at home, and revisit the list as your needs change in the future.

  • Consider enrolling in a medical alert system
  • Create a buddy system, in which you and a friend or neighbor check on each other
  • Modify your home as needed, with grab bars in the bathroom, a higher toilet, and so on
  • Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs and electrical cords
  • Check to be sure that stairs have a non-slip surface, and that there are light switches at the top and bottom of all staircases
  • Wear shoes with a low heel that fit you well
  • Install a few night lights, particularly in the bathroom and any hallways that you might use during the night
  • Adjust your water heater to 120 degrees or less, to prevent accidental burns
  • Install a skid-proof surface on the bottom of your bathtub or shower stall
  • Use (and install if you don’t have one) a very loud oven timer
  • Use tea kettles and other appliances that have an automatic shut-off feature
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while you cook
  • Store hazardous chemicals, and other potentially flammable items, far away from the oven and stove
  • Once per week, organize your medications in a weekly dosage container
  • When you organize medications, check expiration dates and throw out expired drugs
  • Keep a list of important phone numbers posted on your refrigerator
  • ]Program a speed dial function on your phone, so that you can reach help with the touch of a button
  • Install burglar alarms and give your entry code only to trusted relatives
  • Install bright outdoor lighting, connected to a motion sensor
  • Never allow door-to-door salesmen, or other strangers, into the home – no matter how convincing their story is

While this safety checklist is quite comprehensive, you might have individual needs that you should address separately. Work closely with your doctor, loved ones, or care provider to communicate your abilities and limitations. Together as a team you can make the decisions that will help keep you safe.

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