Home Safety and the Elderly

Many people take extra precautions when welcoming children into their home, either their own or the children of friends and family. First-time parents are particularly vigilant about childproofing their homes. Homeowners and renters with elderly parents or visitors to their home would be wise to take a moment to consider their safety as well.

Older people are highly susceptible to falls and can suffer disproportionately. A fall for a person over 55 is more dangerous than a similar fall for a younger person. There are certain precautions you should consider before having an older person reside at your home. If you are inviting older friends over to stay, you might also want to check on the amount of personal liability insurance you have.

Stairways and hallways are danger areas for the elderly, especially those suffering from limited mobility. Many municipalities have ordinances dealing with the width and steepness of stairs, but many older buildings have their stairways grandfathered in. Stairs should be kept free of objects, and handrails should be installed and securely fastened. These areas should be well lit, so people can see transitions between steps. It is also important that doorways not have raised thresholds.

If there are older people living or staying at your house, it might be advisable to check the safety of your bathroom, too. Tile areas can be made safer with non-skid mats. Bathtubs must have non-skid lining of some kind as they can become slippery easily. It may behoove you to install grab bars near enough to toilets so people can use them to lower themselves gently into place.

Falls are not the only danger to older people in the home. Some elderly relatives and friends need constant assistance. In such cases, an abundance of caution is best. Considering the safety of your guests can save you a lot of grief in the future.