Home Safety Checklist for Caregivers of Older Adults

May 9, 2019

If you are concerned a senior’s home isn’t safe, this home safety checklist can help you conduct an assessment. From fall hazards to lighting, here’s what to look for.

If you spent time at an older loved one’s home during your spring holiday, you may have wondered if they are safe living alone. Family members often find themselves trying to evaluate a senior’s home for safety. Making that determination is tough when you aren’t sure what you should be looking for.

That’s why we put together this home safety checklist. We hope it will help families identify potential problem spots around a senior loved one’s home. From in-home fall hazards to lighting concerns, here’s what caregivers should look for when conducting a safety assessment.

Safety Risks to Identify in a Senior’s Home

General security concerns:       

  • Do exterior doors and windows have working locks?
  • Is a home security system with signs displayed prominently to discourage break-ins?
  • Are flashlights strategically placed throughout the home including on the bedside table, on a table near the senior’s favorite spot in the living area, and in the basement?
  • Does the senior have two or more cordless phones so they can keep one with them at all times?
  • Is there a process for making sure the proper dosage of each medication is taken at the right time?

Potential fall hazards:   

  • Is the area surrounding the senior’s favorite spot to sit in the living room free from clutter and tripping hazards?
  • Are grab bars in place near the bedside, tub, and toilet?
  • Are cords secure and out of the way so as not to create a fall risk?
  • Is the home free from throw rugs that can be a trip-and-fall hazard?
  • Does the senior have nonskid slippers or shoes to wear around the house?
  • Are transitions between rooms level and in good condition?
  • Is adequate lighting present in all areas of the home, but especially near stairs and in bathrooms?
  • Are night-lights strategically placed in locations that the senior uses most often, such as the pathways to the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom?
  • Does the senior have a walk-in tub or shower with a seat?
  • If needed, does the bathroom have a raised toilet seat?

Stairways and steps:

  • Are stairways well lit with on-off switches at both the top and bottom?
  • Are railings strong enough for an adult to pull themselves up with?
  • Is the stairway free from clutter that could cause a fall?
  • Are treads or carpeting on each step secure and level?

Fire and carbon monoxide safety:     

  • Does each level of the house have at least one working smoke detector?
  • Is a smoke detector located right outside the room the senior sleeps in?
  • Does the home have a carbon monoxide detector?
  • Is the furnace inspected twice each year?
  • Does the senior have a light-weight, easy-to-use fire extinguisher in the kitchen?
  • Are dials on the stove accessible without needing to reach over burners?

Home exterior safety risks:

  • Are exterior steps and stairways in good repair?
  • Do outdoor stairs have strong handrails?
  • Do exterior doors and walkways have working motion lights?
  • Are the driveway and sidewalks free from cracks and crevices that can lead to trip-and-fall accidents?
  • Is a winter snow and ice removal plan in place for older adults who live in colder climates?

If you find your senior’s home presents too many safety concerns, it may be time to consider a change. An independent or assisted living community can be an option to consider. Call (423) 478-8071 today to learn more!