Home Safety Checklist For Seniors

As we age, changes in our vision, hearing, muscle strength, coordination and reflexes make us more likely to fall. We also may develop disorders that affect our balance, such as diabetes or a heart condition. And we may be taking medications that can cause dizziness or lightheadedness.

Simple changes in our homes could prevent many falls and the resulting injuries, both for ourselves and for our older visitors.

Stairways, Hallways, Garages and Outdoor Pathways

  • Provide good lighting and keep the area free of clutter 
  • Firmly attach carpet or secure the footing with abrasive strips 
  • Tightly fasten handrails, which should run the entire length and both sides of all stairs 
  • Place light switches at both ends of hallways, and at the top and bottom of stairways 
  • Install nightlights between bedrooms and bathrooms 

Living Areas

  • Place electrical cords and telephone wires out of walking paths 
  • Firmly secure rugs 
  • Furnish your home with couches and chairs of the proper height to make sitting down and standing up easier 
  • Keep low furniture, such as a coffee table, out of walking paths 
  • Avoid swivel chairs or chairs that are on casters 
  • Place sturdy furniture along frequently traveled paths, so that you can lean on it when needed 
  • Make sure doors and windows open and close easily 
  • Locate light switches or lamps near the entrance to the room 

Kitchen, Laundry Area and Basement

  • Use a nonskid nonglare finish on the floor 
  • Put a nonskid rug or rubber mat by the sink and clothes washer 
  • Keep regularly used items within easy reach 
  • Have handy a sturdy stepstool with handrails for use when reaching for items stored above your reach 
  • Make sure appliance controls are accessible and well-marked 

Bathrooms

  • Conveniently locate grab bars in and next to bathtubs and showers, and near toilets 
  • Cover all walking surfaces that might get wet with nonskid mats or carpet 
  • Put nonskid mats or rubberized decals on the bottom of bathtubs and showers 
  • Install nightlights 

Bedrooms

  • Place nightlights or light switches within reach of the bed(s) 
  • Locate the telephone within easy reach of the bed(s) 
  • Make sure drawers and doors open and close easily 

Storage Areas, Closets, Garage and Basement

  • Store regularly used items within reach
  • Have handy a sturdy stepstool with handrails for use when reaching for items stored above your reach
  • Immediately mop up all spills
  • Keep items out of walking paths