Caregiver Guide: A Checklist for Creating a Safe Environment
As a caregiver, home safety concerns are something you can deal with before anything becomes a problem for the person in your care. Your loved one’s health care professional can alert you to any specific safety concerns and recommendations. Here are some things to look for:
- Good lighting. To decrease the risk of falls or other accidents, make sure there is adequate lighting in stairways (especially at the top and bottom of stairs), hallways, bathrooms, the bedroom, and the kitchen. Keep a flashlight near the bed in case the power goes out at night.
- Handrails. Ideally, both sides of stairways and walkways should have handrails. Showers and toilet areas should also have grab bars.
- Proper water temperature. To avoid burns, check the water temperature of all water taps to be sure it’s set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You also can install spouts or showerheads that automatically shut off water flow if it’s too hot.
- Secure rugs. Make sure area rugs are nonslip; check wall-to-wall carpeting for any bubbles or frayed edges.
- Fall hazards. Remove items that could cause falls, such as throw rugs, hoses, tools, and electrical cords, and put them in a safe place. If necessary, rearrange furniture so there’s plenty of room to walk.
- Other hazards. Check for hazards such as poisons and medicines, as well as dangerous household products, knives, and razors. Be sure these items are disposed of properly or stored away safely.
- Easy-to-reach necessities. If the person in your care is at a higher risk of falls, make sure groceries and personal care items are kept within easy reach.
- Posted emergency numbers. Keep a list of important numbers near every phone.
Additional home safety tips for older adults can be found at nihseniorhealth.gov; additional home safety tips for children can be found at safekids.org.