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Checklist: Is Your Elderly Loved One’s Home Safe?

trip hazard fall prevention

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission says over 600,000 elderly Americans are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year, for injuries that occurred at home. Many of these injuries were easily preventable by taking some steps to ensure our elderly loved one’s homes are safe.

Here is a checklist to help you evaluate your loved one’s home:

  • Check all outlets and light switches to see if any are warm or hot, which could be an indication of wiring issues. If they are warm or hot to the touch, carefully unplug any cords from the outlets, turn the switches to the off position, and contact an electrician to have the wiring checked.
  • Make sure all outlets and light switches have the proper cover plates and that all wires are covered.
  • Make sure the proper light bulbs are being used. Light bulbs that are not the right size or wattage for a lamp or fixture, could pose a fire hazard.
  • Check all electrical cords to make sure they are out of the way of traffic, to avoid tripping, and also check cords for any fraying and/or exposed wires, which could cause a fire or shock injury. Make sure cords are not attached to walls with nails or staples, which could also cause damage to the cord and result in fire or shock injuries.
  • Look at shelves and cabinets to see if they are well-secured and not overloaded.
  • Look through the home for any rugs and mats that could cause someone to trip. Also, if there are rugs, check for slip-resistant matting under the rugs.
  • Check to see if carbon monoxide and smoke detectors installed and working properly.
  • If heaters or small stoves are being used, check to see if they are in a place where they cannot cause someone to trip. Also, make sure they are not too close to any flammable material.
  • Check to ensure your loved one has access to a phone, in case of emergency, and that there is an exit plan in place, in case they need to leave the house in case of a fire.
  • Other items to check for in your elderly loved one’s home: cleaned chimneys, outdated foods, good lighting throughout the home, clear passageways and exit ways, non-skid mats and grab bars in bathtubs and showers, proper temperature on hot water heater, small electrical appliances are kept unplugged when not in use, medications are stored properly, easy access to light switches and lamps in the dark, easy access to working flashlights.