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Caregiving: Make sure your home is safe

Lots of accidents can happen at home, and some can be serious. Before you invite an older person to live in your home, do a safety assessment.

If you decide to have your parent move in with you, make a safety sweep of your house first.

Many older people have problems with their vision, sense of smell and balance. This can lead to some safety issues you may not have considered.

The National Institute on Aging advises checking for dangers such as:

  • Fire hazards from stoves, appliances, cigarettes, lighters and matches. Install safety knobs on your stove and consider an automatic shut-off device.
  • Sharp objects, such as knives and sewing needles.
  • Hazardous household products, medicines and poisons.
  • Tripping hazards, such as loose rugs, furniture and clutter inside the house, as well as hoses, tools and gates outside the house.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Water hot enough to cause scalding or burns (set your water heater to a lower temperature).

To help keep your loved one safe, you may also want to:

  • Make sure there are easily accessible emergency exits.
  • Consider installing locks and door alarms to prevent wandering if your parent has dementia. Having your parent wear an ID bracelet is also a good idea.
  • Hide the car keys if your parent should not be driving.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers and information.

Reviewed 6/8/2022

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