Senior Safety Checklist
It is important to evaluate the living conditions of seniors who live independently on a regular basis. An environment that was fine just a month ago may now pose a problem. Assess the home with your loved one’s diminishing abilities and special requirements in mind to make sure they are in safe surroundings.
A qualified in-home health caregiver can help you assess the situation and recommend modifications that can prolong the senior’s ability to remain at home.
General Home Safety
Pay special attention to safety hazards that may cause falls, and make sure your loved one has easy access to communication in case of a problem.
- See if the home is reasonably organized and clean.
- Check for impediments like throw rugs, sharp furniture edges and electrical extension cords that can pose the risk of falls and injury.
- Make sure the proper smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors are easily accessible.
- Look for phones and medical alert systems that are available in every room in the house.
- See if the home is well lit, especially around stairways.
- Install railings on both sides of the staircase.
- Inspect electrical appliances to make sure they are working properly.Maintaining proper nutrition and safety in the kitchen are top priorities.
Kitchen and Food
- Peek into the refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see if there is an adequate food supply.
- Consider the quality of the food available and its nutritious value. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains should be included in the senior’s diet.
- Check for out of date food.
- See if your loved one can buy groceries independently. If not, an in-home caretaker can do the shopping.
- Evaluate whether the senior can prepare meals on her own and operate equipment like a microwave.
- Make sure he knows which foods have adverse interactions with his medications.
- Determine if your loved one has a good appetite, and if she is eating enough.Decreasing mobility may become a safety issue.
- If the aging senior is unsteady on his feet, consider a walker or another assistive device to help him get around.
- Look for signs of bruises that can indicate a fall.
- Determine if the senior can get the newspapers and mail on her own.
- Assess whether he is capable of getting in and out of bed without assistance.
- See if she can navigate stairs if necessary
- If the senior is still driving, did he have a recent eye test and does he have a valid driver’s license? If not, the home health caretaker can provide transportation.The bathroom should be sanitary and all safety issues must be addressed.
- Determine if your loved one can transfer into the shower safely. If not, you can get a transfer chair to help. The senior may need assistance showering.
- Make sure the grab bars are adequate.
- Evaluate whether the senior can use the toilet independently.
- If there are incontinence issues, see if the supplies are being disposed of in a proper manner.
- Check to see that bathroom mats are non-skid.
- Assess the cleanliness of the bathroom.A senior with compromised cognitive function may pose a safety risk while alone at home.
- Think about whether the senior has demonstrated severe memory loss.
- Determine whether she can communicate effectively and understand conversations.
- Notice if the senior has trouble recognizing friends or family members.
- Find out if he has gotten lost in familiar surroundings, or if there have been episodes of confusion.As people age, doctor’s visits, tests and medication generally become more important issues.
Health and Medication
- Determine if the senior keeps up with medical appointments and if transportation is an issue.
- See if there are indications of failing vision or hearing.
- Notice if the senior is maintaining a consistent weight at a healthy level.
- Evaluate whether your loved one is having trouble taking medications as directed, or if there are any problems with self-administered treatments like injections or oxygen.
A reputable home health care agency can provide you with a trained caregiver to keep your loved one safe at home.