Give Your Home a Safety Inspection

According to the Canada Safety Council, falls are the number one safety issue for Canadians over 65, accounting for almost two-thirds of serious injuries that require hospitalization. And did you know that falls and other serious injuries are most likely to happen right at home?

The good news is that most of these accidents can be prevented. To help protect yourself and older loved ones against falls, give your house, apartment or condominium a home safety checkup! Before you begin, here are a few simple guidelines seniors should always keep in mind:

  • Respect your limits. If you aren't as agile as you once were, ask for help or hire someone to do jobs like climbing ladders, cleaning cupboards or changing light bulbs.
  • Take your time. Think about safety before you begin a project or outing. And take on physically demanding projects only when you are physically and mentally ready for them.
  • Remember that safety starts at a personal level. Have your eyes checked each year. And wear glasses if prescribed. Wear safe clothes and sturdy, supportive, non-slip footwear. Never smoke in bed or when drowsy. And get regular exercise with the advice of your doctor.
  • Use extra caution at night. If you get up during the night, be careful getting out of bed. Install nightlights. If frequent night trips to the bathroom are a safety concern, try cutting down on fluid intake just before bedtime; and ask your doctor about taking diuretic medications early in the day.

Quick & Easy Safety Ideas

Safety aids can help you or your loved one remain independent and injury-free. Here are several easy-to-install items you can find at hardware stores, health equipment companies, or through mail order catalogs.

  • Night lights. Insert in hallways and near stairways and beds.
  • Stairway rails. Keep them in good shape and firmly attached.
  • Double-back tape. Use to secure throw rugs.
  • Bathtub and shower non-slip decals. Place in tubs and showers, and by sinks and washing machines.
  • Rubber mats. Put by sinks and washing machines.
  • Bathroom grab bars. They are especially helpful near the bathtub, shower and toilet.
  • Bathtub and shower seats. Use for getting in and out of bathtubs as well as while showering and bathing.
  • Flexible shower hoses. When used with a seat, they allow for safer bathing.
  • Elevated toilet seat. Place on the regular toilet seat to elevate the sitting height to a minimum of 24 inches.
  • Paint and sand mixture. Paint outside steps with this mixture to make them slip-resistant.
  • Smoke/heat detector. Place high enough to detect smoke and heat, and where you will hear it. It should be easy to turn off if it goes off accidentally.
  • Kitchen timer. Use this as a reminder to turn off burners when you are cooking.
  • Heavy, thick potholders or oven mitts. Make sure they are easy to hold on to.
  • Metallic stove counter mat. This allows you to safely slide hot pots off burners. They are especially helpful if your hand strength is reduced.

For a complete Home Safety Checklist please visit Choices Newsletter, an online publication by Retire-At-Home Services:

For more information on home health care services please visit the Retire-At-Home website at