Safety in the Home for Seniors

If you have an aging parent or relative living in their own home, you may be concerned about their well-being. It’s important that their safety in the environment in which they live be assessed. According to the Home Safety Council, more than 7,000 adults age 65 and older die each year from injuries sustained in the home. Over half of those are caused by falls.

The good news is that many injuries are preventable. Making simple changes to the home such as installing smoke detectors, providing adequate lighting, and eliminating tripping hazards can literally mean the difference between life and death for seniors.  It’s important to look out for personal safety, too. While older people are statistically less likely to be victims of violent crime, taking simple measures can ensure it doesn’t occur.

Home Safety Check List:

  • Maintain proper lighting. To prevent falls, make sure pathways in and around the home are well-lighted. Make sure the top and bottom of stairs have plenty of light.
  • Install and maintain secure handrails for all stairways, even those with just two or three steps. Handrails on each side of stairway and that extend the full length of the stairway are recommended.
  • Keep walkways and stairways free of clutter. This includes sidewalks and outside stairs.
  • Fix broken steps immediately.
  • Wear shoes in the house with non-slip soles.
  • Install grab bars in bathtubs and showers. Use non-slip bath mats or strips to prevent falls.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Make sure throw rugs and area rugs don’t slip by securing them with tape. Install smoke alarms on every floor
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms outside every bedroom.
  • Change the batteries on fire and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a year. Check fire and carbon monoxide alarms monthly.
  • Create a fire escape plan that identifies two exits out of every room, if possible.
  • Review prescriptions at least once a year with a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Consider purchasing a Knox Box that provides fire department and EMS access to the home.
  • Ask your local fire and police departments to do free safety inspections of your home.

Personal Safety Check List:

  • Leave at least one light on inside and outside the home when you’re not home.
  • When you’re away for an extended period, don’t let it show. Use timers to turn on lights at varied times to make it look like you’re home. Cancel newspaper deliveries, have the post office hold your mail, and let neighbors and police know when you’ll be away.
  • Consider purchasing a home alarm system that monitor for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide and medical emergencies.
  • Install good locks on doors and windows. Make sure door locks are at least 40″ from any glass on or near the door.
  • Do not leave keys in mailboxes or around the home. Leave with a neighbor or friend.
  • Keep garage doors closed and all doors locked at all times.
  • Keep bushes and trees around the home neat and trim – don’t provide hiding places for thieves.
  • Don’t enter your home if you think someone unknown may be inside. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Install peepholes that are accessible for the user in all access doors.
  • Don’t let just anyone into your home. Always ask for photo I.D. from service or delivery people, even if you’re expecting them.
  • Don’t leave notes on the door when going out.
  • Never tell anyone on the phone you live alone. The same goes for your answering machine message.
  • Use Direct Deposit! Criminals know when government checks arrive.
  • Have a mailbox with a lock. A lot of personal information that can be used for theft identity can be found in your everyday mail.
  • Only take out money from bank accounts for yourself – never for anyone else.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone. That includes your name, address, social security number, and credit card numbers. If the person claims to be calling from a bank and asks for personal or financial information, hang up.
  • If a deal or financial opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Be sure to report all crime and suspicious activity. If you’d been had, don’t be embarrassed! Letting the police know what happened will help prevent further crime.

Financial Safety List:

  • Use Direct Deposit! Criminals know when government checks arrive.
  • Have a mailbox with a lock. A lot of personal information that can be used for theft identity can be found in your everyday mail.
  • Only take out money from bank accounts for yourself – never for anyone else.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone. That includes your name, address, social security number, and credit card numbers. If the person claims to be calling from a bank and asks for personal or financial information, hang up.
  • If a deal or financial opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Be sure to report all crime and suspicious activity. If you’d been had, don’t be embarrassed! Letting the police know what happened will help prevent further crime.

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