Simple changes in the home can make life easier, safer and more comfortable. This is particularly important for older adults who are living in their own homes, sharing a home, or staying in an apartment. Each year at a minimum, older adults and their families should conduct an Annual Home Safety Check-Up. Your plan should include identifying the hazardous areas in your home, ways to fix the problems and ongoing ways to prevent accidents from happening.
What can you do to make your home safer so you can live independently? Use this general guide as you build your own Annual Home Safety Check-Up. This guide is not meant to be exhaustive but will give you a jump start on what you can do to make your home safer starting today. Key areas include the following:
- Keep a list of emergency numbers nearby that includes emergency, police, fire department – 911, Poison Control – 1-800-222-1222, family member or friend, healthcare providers.
- Prevent falls by reducing tripping hazards. Are electrical or telephone cords found in high traffic areas? Are your floors slippery? Do your steps have non-slip surfaces? Does your carpet need repair? Are there areas of flooring that are raised and need to be repaired? Do you use nightlights in your hallways and bathrooms? Do you have grab bars inside and outside your bathroom shower/tub? Do you have railings on both sides of your stairways?
- Use emergency precautions: Are there fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors available? Do you safely store your sharp cutlery and potentially poisonous chemicals? Do you use a personal emergency response device?
- Get rid of clutter: What can you do to make your home more comfortable and easier for you to move around?
At AgeWell New York, we conduct home environment assessments for our members to identify ways to improve healthier and safer living in one’s home and community. For questions, call us at 1-866-586-8044.