The population of seniors continues to grow and more of the 65+ age group are enjoying a longer, healthier life in their home—many of whom live independently. Whether in good health at home or if experiencing health issues, there are a number of home safety tips that seniors should consider to maintain a healthy and enjoyable life at home.
1. Proper lighting
- Are the bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, entrances and stairways well lit? Putting nightlights around the home is an easy fix!
- Sensor or motion-detected lights is another alternative.
- Bedside lighting is beneficial, and recommended to be in reaching distance and turned on by tapping the base, or clapping.
2. Falls and Tripping Hazards
- Area rugs pose one of the main fall hazards. Even if it has rubber backing, your toes can catch on the edging. Even the change in surface level between base flooring and the area rug can alter your balance. Removing area rugs can eliminate this risk easily.
- Removing walkway clutter to make for safe and clear pathways in and around your home can improve home access. Trying to navigating around extra furniture or obstacles can result in trips and falls.
- Ensure the path to your home entrance is clear of snow and ice.
3. Assistive Devices
- Bathrooms are one of the main areas where falls occur. Consider using devices such as bath chairs, grab bars, raised toilet seats, toilet safety frames, bath mats, and/or anti-slip adhesive bath strips to increase bathroom safety.
- Consider using a mobility device if needed, i.e. cane or walker.
4. Emergency Response Planning
- In the case of a fall and you are alone at home, do you have strategies in place to call for help if needed? Personal Emergency Response units are readily available. They are often worn as a pendant as a necklace or watch, and when the button in pressed, you summon for help. Some units can be bought off the shelf and dial 911 when the button is pressed. Other devices have monthly monitoring fees where an agent over a speaker unit in the home can speak to you, identify the issue and determine who to call (i.e. a family member, friend or 911).
- Have emergency phone numbers listed by the phone for easy access.
5. General Health and Exercise
- Have your hearing and eye sight assessed regularly to improve your mobility and balance.
- Eating a well-balance diet and staying hydrated is also important in maintaining general health and staying safe in the home.
- Participating in regular exercise can help maintain balance, strength and flexibility, all improving your mobility. Regular walking is free and can be done in your home or outdoors, even with a friend! Seated or bed exercises can be prescribed by a qualified professional if walking is not suitable.
The senior years should be full of joy and health in the comfort of your own home. Our Occupational Therapists are able to provide support and recommendations to help senior live more safely at home. Tell us in the comments below if you have any other safety tips to share for seniors.
About the Author
Lori MacFadyen, OT Reg.(Ont.), M.Sc.(OT), B.Sc.(Hons)
Lori is an Occupational Therapist (OT) with almost 7 years of experience in the field from insurance-sector, working with CCAC-referred clients in their homes, assisting private clients in mobility device prescription and funding, as well as providing OT services to several long-term care facilities.