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I would like to complete a home safety review in order to determine any potential dangers in my mom’s house. I am not sure what I should be on the lookout for. Do you have any suggestions or tips?
It is a great idea to review the need for any home modifications and repairs your mother’s home might need. A review of your mother’s home can help to increase her safety and ability to age in place by safeguarding her independence. The U.S. Administration on Aging has a comprehensive beginning safety checklist you can use to examine each area of your mother’s home and assess it for potential problems. The check list questions are as follows:
Appliances, Kitchen, Bathroom
• Are cabinet doorknobs easy to use?
• Are stove controls easy to use and clearly marked?
• Are faucets easy to use?
• Are there grab bars where needed?
• Are all appliances and utensils conveniently and safely located?
• Can the oven and refrigerator be opened easily?
• Can she sit down while working?
• Can she get into and out of the bathtub or shower easily?
• Is the kitchen counter height and depth comfortable for her?
• Is the water temperature regulated to prevent scalding or burning?
• Would she benefit from having convenience items, such as a handheld showerhead, a garbage disposal, or a trash compactor?
Closets, Storage Spaces
• Are her closets and storage areas conveniently located?
• Are her closet shelves too high?
• Can she reach items in the closet easily?
• Does she have enough storage space?
• Has she gotten the maximum use out of the storage space she has, including saving space with special closet shelf systems and other products?
• Are her doors and windows easy to open and close?
• Are her door locks sturdy and easy to operate?
• Are her doors wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair?
• Do her doors have peepholes or viewing?
• Does her garage door have an automatic opener?
• Is her parking space always available?
• Is her parking space close to the entrance of her home?
Electrical Outlets, Switches, Safety Devices
• Are light or power switches easy to turn on and off?
• Are electrical outlets easy to reach?
• Are the electrical outlets properly grounded to prevent shocks?
• Are her extension cords in good condition?
• Can she hear the doorbell in every part of the house?
• Are there smoke detectors throughout her home?
• Is there an alarm system?
• Is the telephone readily available for emergencies?
• Would she benefit from having an assistive device to make it easier to hear and talk on the telephone?
• Are all of the floors in her home on the same level?
• Are steps up and down marked in some way?
• Are all floor surfaces safe and covered with non-slip or non-skid materials?
• Are there scattered rugs or doormats that could be hazardous?
Hallways, Steps, Stairways
• Are hallways and stairs in good condition?
• Do all of her hallways and stairs have smooth, safe surfaces?
• Do all of her stairs have steps that are big enough for her whole foot?
• Are there handrails on both sides of the stairway?
• Are her stair rails wide enough for her to grasp them securely?
• Would she benefit from building a ramp to replace the stairs or steps inside or outside of her home?
• Are there night lights where they are needed?
• Is the lighting in each room sufficient for the use of the room?
• Is the lighting bright enough to ensure safety?
• Is each room well-ventilated with good air circulation?
Once you have assessed all the areas of your mother’s home you will be able to determine which areas have any potential problems and identify possible solutions.