Aging in Place Essentials: Part 2 – Making Your Home Safer & More Comfortable


February 11, 2015

The key to Aging in Place is having a safe and comfortable home. In Part 2 of our Aging in Place series, we will discuss how you can make sure your home fits your needs.

Every Room

When adapting your home to Age in Place, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are a few steps you can take that will make any room in your home safer:

  • Remove any furniture, clutter or wires that could be a tripping hazard
  • Repair loose carpeting
  • Place secure grab bars and handrails around your home
  • Make sure each room is well lit
  • Install nightlights
  • Have an electrician check any outlets that might be overheating
  • Install and routinely check smoke detectors around your home

Bathroom Safety

Each year, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for bathroom-related injuries.1 These falls can be especially dangerous for seniors. To prevent these injuries, we recommend a few ways to stay safe and comfortable in your bathroom:

  • Install a walk-in tub or shower
  • Put nonskid and rubber mats near your shower or tub, toilet and sink
  • Use raised toilet seats that make it easier to get up and down
  • Clean up any wet spots
  • Make sure your toiletries are easy to reach
  • Consider having a place to comfortably sit when using your toiletries
  • Turn water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns
  • Don’t leave appliances plugged in near water fixtures

Kitchen Safety & Comfort

While cooking can be fun, we need to remember to do it safely. Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.2 Slippery floors and knife use can also be hazardous. We have come up with some tips to make sure your kitchen is safe:

  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Cover shiny surfaces to reduce glare
  • Replace hard tile flooring with a safer linoleum, cork or vinyl alternative
  • Avoid floor wax or polish that will make your kitchen floor slippery
  • Always check food expiration dates
  • Properly store knives
  • Use a kettle that automatically shuts off
  • Place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency
  • Make sure that there are no towels, rags or other flammable objects hanging near your stove
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing that could be a fire hazard
  • While cooking, don’t leave the kitchen
  • Store items on a lower shelf for easier access

A Safe Living Room

As you Age in Place, you may be spending a lot more time in your living room. This might be a good moment to consider how you can make this area even safer and more comfortable. Think about these ideas to increase your living room’s safety:

  • Rearrange furniture so that your pathways are not blocked
  • Consider throwing away any coffee or end tables that could cause a fall
  • Choose furniture that is firm and stable
  • Make sure your chairs and couches have armrests so that it will be easier to get up

Keep Your Hallways and Stairs Safe

Moving from one room or floor of your house to another might sound mundane, but you may find hazards along the way. Consider these suggestions to stay safe in your hallways and on your stairs:

  • Consider purchasing a stair glide or stair lift
  • Have light switches at the top and bottom of your stairs
  • Choose a carpet pattern that does not hide stair edges

In The Bedroom

When falling asleep, a dangerous slip might be the furthest thing from your mind. But, a midnight run to the bathroom could quickly become a serious situation. Making your bedroom safer can be accomplished by following these steps:

  • Have a lamp or light switch near your bed
  • Have a flashlight with working batteries in your bedroom
  • Keep a phone within easy reach
  • Choose a bed that is neither too low nor too high
  • Install a bed rail to prevent any falls
  • Remove any phone or extension cords
  • Do not use candles, as they can be fire hazards
  • Make sure your blankets and bedspread are not hanging on the floor
  • Wear slippers that have extra support

As you can see, there are many ways you can make your house safer and more accommodating. While we have outlined several methods of doing this, we welcome your suggestions in the comments. Check back in at Staying Put at Home to see the rest of our series on Aging in Place:

Aging in Place Essentials

  1. Introduction
  2. Making Your Home Safer & More Comfortable
  3. How Can Aging in Place Save You Money?
  4. Maintaining & Modifying Your Home: Who Can Help?
  5. How to Make Your Bathroom Safer
  1. Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years | Return to Text
  2. Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment | Return to Text

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