Home Safety Assessment For Elderly – A lot of elderly people want to live independently in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. As long as they are mentally and physically capable of taking care of themselves, this is possible. Seniors’ ability to live independently depends heavily on their sense of security. As a result, it’s critical to understand that falling is one of the most common dangers seniors face.
In fact, research shows that falls-related injuries and complications are the leading cause of death for the elderly over 65. Each year, one in three seniors in this age group falls. A home safety assessment is an important way to find potential dangers in your home, especially if they live alone.
How A Home Safety Assessment Keeps You Safe From Harm
A home safety assessment is a look at your house to find and remove any potential dangers. A licensed health care professional like an occupational therapist or medical social worker usually does the assessment. Installing handrails in the bathroom or making sure your house has enough lighting are two examples of home improvement suggestions that may be included in the home safety assessment.
Because falls are one of the most common causes of injury among the elderly, a home safety assessment can be an important preventative measure. Over 34,000 adults aged 65 and older died in falls in 2019, making them the leading cause of injury-related death for this age group. 3 million older adult falls were treated in the emergency room in 2019.
Is It Possible To Age In Place In Your House?
Aging does not have to mean moving out of your home. However, this does not imply that everything must remain the same. Quite the opposite. Have you ever wondered if your residence was suitable for aging in place? Frequently, something occur, such as a slip or fall. After an injury, we then have a different perspective on our homes. High shelves become catapults and stairs become intimidating. Our homes need to be accessible in order for us to live a healthy and safe life there.
READ: 8 Home Lighting Tips For Elderly Homeowners
As we grow and change so must our homes. This means that we have to live in a house where we can do everything we need to do every day without stress or worry. You can be independent and active in a home and community that are livable. The certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS) program was developed by the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP and other experts to assist seniors who want to make their house a beautiful home for the rest of their lives. This was done in order to assist seniors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they age in place.
The skills of CAPS professionals include:
- Being familiar with industry rules and regulations;
- Being aware of the requirements and costs of common remodeling projects;
- Providing direction for product concepts and the resources required to provide comprehensive and applicable aging-in-place solutions;
- Finding solutions to common stumbling blocks that make homes unsafe or unpleasant;
During an assessment, a CAPS professional may ask the following questions:
- Is there at least one door into the home that doesn’t require a step?
- Does your house have a kitchen, full bathroom, and bedroom on the same level?
- Can a wheelchair pass through the hallways and doorways?
- Do the faucet and door knobs have lever handles which are more user-friendly than rounded knobs?
- Are the kitchen counters arranged so that they can be used from a seated or standing position?
- Can the shelves and cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen be reached easily?
- Does the surface of the bathtub or shower prevent slippage?
- Are there grab bars in the bathroom, or has the wall been strengthened to allow for the installation of grab bars?
- Are the staircases and hallways well-lit?
- Are the handrails on the stairs secure on both sides?
- Are thermostats, electrical outlets, and light switches accessible even from a seated position?
- Can the windows be opened with the utmost ease?
If your answer is “no” to a lot of these questions, you should probably start thinking about how your house can be more accommodating to your needs in the long run.
Usually, homes do not come with a manual, but they probably should. Most importantly, family caregivers must be aware of their homes’ safety. While it’s easy to take a home’s safety for granted, it should not be ignored. Accidents at home are more likely to occur when someone is ill or disabled.
Home Safety Assessment For Elderly
Checklist for a Home Safety Assessment for the Elderly
Most people, especially as they get older, feel most at peace and secure in their homes. However, as people get closer to their final years of life, home can suddenly present new obstacles. Also, many seniors may not be able to afford nursing homes or senior living communities. However, as you and your loved ones age in place, there are ways to ensure that your home is as safe as possible.
A home safety assessment checklist for the elderly include:
- Clearing the way by moving furniture, papers, books, and other items out of the way keeps the paths clear.
- Getting rid of rugs or securing them to the floor with double-sided tape
- Bundling or tying wires together with tape.
- Installing lights above the stairs and fixing broken steps.
- Moving items from cupboards that are frequently used to lower shelves.
- Adding a bar and a non-slip mat to the shower to make it easier for you to get in and out safely.
- In case you fall and require assistance, keep large-print emergency numbers near your phone, place it on the floor, or wear a medical alert device.
- Floors; Kitchen; Bathrooms; Bedrooms; Stairs and steps are the main areas that are evaluated in a home safety assessment.
A bathroom can be dangerous for anyone but it’s especially dangerous for the elderly ones because of the tight quarters, wet surfaces, and tiled floors. Because of all these dangers, bathroom safety should be at the top of the list for home safety.
- To provide additional support when standing, sitting, or getting in and out of the shower, install grab bars around the toilet and shower.
- Install a bench in the shower to prevent elderly people from standing too long on a slick surface.
- To prevent slipping in the shower and outside the tub, put down a rubber mat or non-slip decals.
- To make it easier to get up and down, purchase a toilet seat that is raised or replace the toilet with one that is higher.
The kitchen is another important room in the house that is frequently used throughout the day. The kitchen is often used for cooking, snacking, or drinking water, so it needs to be changed to make it safer.
- To avoid having to use a step stool or reach over your head to retrieve items, install pull-down shelves.
- Store heavy items like mixers and other appliances at lower levels to make retrieval simpler and safer.
- Get rid of any area rugs that aren’t rubber or safe for walking on.
- In the event of a fire while cooking, ensure that smoke detectors are working and keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Install motion-detection or automatic nightlights to ensure that they never go dark.
- To prevent injuries, proper lighting must be installed above the stove and countertop areas.
- To keep from falling, place a non-skid, water-absorbing mat in front of the kitchen sink.
- Find kitchen chairs with arms that are both sturdy and safe for older people to sit in.
- Avoid shiny floors.
- Immediately wipe up spills to prevent accidents.
Floor Safety for Every Room in the House
Liquids or other slick materials on your floors present a significant danger to everyone not just the elderly. Mopping, spills, plumbing leaks all have the potential to create slippery surfaces. Mark a wet or slippery area with a plastic cone or another object to warn your family members if you are unable to completely clean it up.
As we get older and lose mobility, walking requires us to lift our feet completely off the ground. Take a look at the rugs in your house and consider ways to make it easier to move from one room to the next. Rugs that aren’t secured, have edges that are curled, or are torn pose a threat to seniors’ home safety. To prevent someone from falling, take away any throw rugs that are loose.
READ: How To Fall Proof A Home For Elderly
Elderly people who live in homes with cluttered floors are more likely to fall. They may lose their balance if they have to maneuver around objects.
Therefore, come up with ideas for how to organize, get rid of things that aren’t needed, and break up piles to make paths that are wide and clear.
In each room, clear the floor of any clutter that could cause a person to trip.
Stairs and Steps
When determining whether your stairs and steps are safe for you or your loved ones, think about the following:
- When going up and down the stairs, are the treads deep enough for older adults to put their entire foot on them?
- Are the stairs sufficiently illuminated? Light switches ought to be functional at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
- If possible, put chair lifts and ramps so that seniors can safely move around the house.