June is National Safety Month and a great time to brush up on the dos
and don’ts (do: keep hallways and stairwells free of clutter; don’t:
lift heavy things above your head) that keep the entire household safe.
many people tend to have more time to visit with their senior loved
ones during the summer, it’s also a good reminder to conduct your annual
home safety check of your senior’s home. Annual, you ask?
a matter of fact, in a recent survey of ER doctors, 100% of them said
it’s very important for adult children to take one day each year to
perform a safety check of their aging parents’ homes and that 48% of
home accidents experienced by seniors are avoidable.
The needs and
abilities of seniors can change fast. Keeping up with modifications
that make their homes safer could be the difference between them
continuing to be able to live at home or having to move into a care
Common home safety concerns for seniors are: • Tripping hazards • Bathrooms without assistive equipment • Storage too high or too low
Some simple and relatively inexpensive modifications include:
• Replacing wall-mount shower heads with handheld shower heads on a
hose. This allows seniors to stand or sit in place in the shower, rather
than moving their feet to reach every part of their body, which
increases the risk of falling. A senior can use the device as a fixed
shower head – adjustable to the proper height – or convert it to a
• Installing grab bars on the wall near the shower
or tub. Getting seniors accustomed to using these, as opposed to the
shower curtain or the towel bar for support, will decrease their risk of
falls in the shower when they lose their balance or become unsteady on
• Converting to lever handle faucets: This is
especially helpful for seniors with arthritis. It makes it much easier
for them to control their water temperature and pressure.
lighting to closets, hallways, stairs and pantries. Good lighting not
only helps prevent falls, it allows a senior to better adjust to a new
space so that they can more easily identify anything out of place.
Adding swing clear hinges. Narrow doorways could be difficult for
walkers and wheelchairs to navigate. Replacing standard hinges with
“swing clear hinges” allows the door to swing completely clear of the
door opening, adding an extra 1.5 to 2” of clearance without widening
There are many more ways to help ensure your senior is safe at home. At Home Instead Senior Care serving
the southeast valley we have recently launched the Making Home Safer
for Seniors program, which includes lots of free resources, including an
interactive Home Safety Guide, a downloadable Home Safety Checklist and a dedicated website
to help with this process. We are even happy to come to your senior’s
home and perform the home safety check for you. For more information,
please contact us at 480-827-4343.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.