Elder Care General Tips for Home Safety
• Plan and practice an emergency escape route with your elder, in case of fire. This should include a safe meeting place outside the home.
• Subscribe your elder to a personal safety response service in case of emergency. They
will receive an emergency call button to wear as a necklace pendant, on their wrist, or
clipped to their belt. If they fall and can’t get up, they can press the call button; that will automatically activate an emergency call for help over their telephone.
• Telephones should be in each main room, and
should be low enough so they can be reached
from the floor in case of a fall.
• Program telephones with emergency numbers:
doctor, fire department, police, family contact,
poison control, a neighbor, caregiver, and so
on. Also, post a list of these numbers by each telephone.
• Make sure the ringer volume on the telephone
is loud enough for your elder to hear, even
when watching TV or listening to the radio.
• Make sure any door thresholds are low, and
don’t serve as a tripping hazard. If they are too high, remove them.
• Replace round doorknobs with lever-action
• Remove interior locks on all doors to prevent
your elder from locking him/herself in.
• If anything in the home is broken (window,
stove, floor tile, door lock, etc.), fix or discard it.
• All appliances, lamps, and cords should be in
• If there are any exposed light bulbs, cover them with a shade or globe to reduce glare.
• Use light bulbs of the maximum wattage
allowed by the fixture. If you don’t know the correct wattage, use 60-watt bulbs.
• Have an electrician check the fuse box or
circuit breakers to ensure that the house is wired properly.
• Protect your elder from electrical overload with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs
are especially important in the kitchen and bathroom.
• Be certain that no outlets or switches are unusually warm to the touch. If they are, stop using the outlet immediately, and call an electrician to check the wiring.
• Make sure all outlets and switches have cover plates.
• Make sure that extension cords are not
• Replace any electrical cords showing signs of wear and tear.
• Cords should be placed away from high traffic areas, and out from underneath furniture and
rugs (this is a fire hazard). Never run cords across walkways.
• Do not attach cords to the wall or baseboards
with nails or staples. Use electrical tape instead.
• Make sure smoke detectors are located
throughout the home, and are in perfect working condition.
Check the batteries at least twice a year.
• Install radon and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Remove all poisons from the home.
• Close all rodent holes, and hire an exterminator
• Windows should open easily from the inside,
with secure locks to prevent entrance from the outside.
• Put eye-level decals or reflector tape on glass
and screen doors.
• Make sure the home thermostat is not set too
high or too low, especially in summer heat and
• Ventilate rooms properly, using windows or
• Replace air filters often. Dirty filters will release
dust and dirt particles into the air, which can adversely affect your elder’s health.
• Do not allow others to smoke in the house.
• Remove all clutter: if something does not serve a purpose, get rid of it.