Home Safety Checklist For Seniors

Long Term Care Planning

Many seniors are injured by falls that occur in their own home. Each year, more than 734,000 people over 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with stairs, bathtubs, furniture, carpeting and other products seniors live with and use every day.Thousands of these injuries are related to falls: 3,000 seniors each year fall while standing on chairs; 6,800 seniors trip on rugs or carpet runners.1

Injuries sustained in these falls many times lead to a permanent need for a higher level of care (i.e. – assisted living, nursing home). However, with a few precautionary steps the risk of falling can be substantially reduced. Equally important is the senior understanding that utilizing these safety measures in essential to avoiding injury and maintaining the longest period of independence possible.

Here are some suggestions to improve the safety of a senior’s home:


  • 1. Make sure light switches are at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • 2. Ensure that there is adequate lighting for the stairway.
  • 3. Have working flashlights available in case of a power outage.
  • 4. Install handrails on both sides of the stairway.
  • 5. Keep stairway clear of all objects and debris.
  • 6. Put nonslip treads on any smooth surface step.
  • 7. Do not use patterned, dark or deep-pile carpeting.
  • 8. Do not place loose area rugs at the bottom or top of stairs.
  • 9. Repair any loose carpeting or boards immediately.


  • 1. Install grab bars on the bathroom walls near the toilet and bathtub/shower.
  • 2. Place a slip-resistant rug adjacent to the bathtub/shower for safe exit and entry.
  • 3. Install a liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower wall.
  • 4. Secure adhesive textured strips on the bathtub/shower floor.
  • 5. Use a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if the senior is unsteady or cannot lower themselves to the floor of the tub.
  • 6. Keep floor clear of all objects and debris.
  • 7. Use a raised seat or a special toilet seat with armrests if necessary.
  • 8. Replace glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.


  • 1. Keep floor clear of all objects and debris.
  • 2. Place a lamp and flashlight near the bed.
  • 3. Place night-lights along the path between the bedroom and the bathroom.
  • 4. Sleep on a bed that is easy to get into and out of.
  • 5. Keep a telephone near the bed.

Living Areas

  • 1. Arrange furniture to create clear pathways between rooms.
  • 2. Keep pathways clear of all objects, debris, cords, etc.
  • 3. Install easy-access light switches at entrances to rooms. Glow-in-the-dark switches may be helpful.
  • 4. Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing.
  • 5. Discard or fix wobbly chairs, ladders and tables.
  • 6. Replace any chair or on a sofa that is so low it is difficult to get up from.
  • 7. Install carpeting over concrete, ceramic and marble floors to lessen the severity of injury if you fall.
  • 8. Repair loose wooden floorboards.


  • 1. Keep pathways clear of all objects, debris, cords, etc.
  • 2. Remove throw rugs.
  • 3. Immediately clean up any liquid, grease or food spilled on the floor.
  • 4. Store food, dishes and cooking equipment at easy-to-reach waist-high level.
  • 5. Obtain a step stool with an attached handrail for reaching upper cabinets if necessary.
  • 6. Repair loose flooring.
  • 7. Use non-skid floor wax.

1 Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, P.O. Box 1998, Des Plaines, Ill. 60017, “Don’t Let a Fall Be Your Last Trip” brochure.

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