Uncovering the Hidden Dangers in Aging Loved Ones’ Homes

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 03:51 PM.

For more information or to obtain a free home safety checklist, contact the local Home Instead Senior Care Office at 334-699-6815.

A Home Safety Assessment and Checklist

Seniors and their families might want to look for the following opportunities when performing a home safety assessment.

Examine dark pathways, corners and other areas where seniors regularly walk or read.  Make sure all areas of the home have adequate lighting.  Timed and motion-sensor lights outdoors can illuminate potentially dangerous pathways.  Inside, consider Ott-Lites – which provide a high-intensity beam for doing detail work.  Make sure that hallways and stairs are properly lit.

Avoid monochromatic color schemes.  Contrast can help seniors with failing eyesight better navigate their homes.  Large red and blue buttons over hot and cold water faucet controls will help prevent dangerous mistakes.  A dark green or brown toilet seat and vinyl tape around the shower will make those fixtures more easily distinguished.  Kitchen countertops should contrast with floors as well.

Look for ways to reorganize.  Mom always put the black stew pot under the stove to keep the kids from breaking it.  Perhaps now it belongs on a shelf beside the stove.  And who says the eggs must go in the egg tray of the refrigerator?  Perhaps it’s easier for dad to handle them if they’re stored in the meat tray.  If that hallway table, which has always been a permanent fixture, is becoming a dangerous obstacle, relocate it.

Look behind closed doors.  Many seniors will close off parts of a house they no longer use.  Be sure to check those areas regularly for mold or water damage.  Don’t close vents to crawl spaces.

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