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What Is a Home Safety Assessment for the Elderly?

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Particularly if you’re an older adult who lives alone, a home safety assessment is an important way to identify potential hazards in your home.

How a home safety assessment prevents injuries

A home safety assessment is an evaluation of your home to identify and eliminate potential hazards. It’s usually performed by a licensed health-care professional, such as an occupational therapist or medical social worker. The home safety assessment may also include home improvement recommendations to help you navigate your environment more securely, such as installing handrails in the bathroom or making sure your house has adequate lighting

An elderly home safety assessment can be an important preventive measure, especially because falls are one of the most common sources of injury among seniors. According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans age 65 and older falls every year, and falls are the number one cause of injury-related death for older adults.

Home safety assessment checklist

The good news is that a home safety assessment lets you proactively evaluate the safety of your home and make changes if needed. Getting a home safety assessment may reduce your risk for injury and help you live independently in your own home for as long as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a home safety assessment checklist online and recommends:

  • Keeping pathways clear by moving furniture, papers, books, and other objects out of the way.
  • Removing rugs or securing them to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Taping down wires or bundling them up.
  • Fixing broken steps and installing lights above the stairs.
  • Moving frequently used items in cupboards to lower shelves.
  • Installing a non-slip mat in the shower and a bar to help you get in and out safely.
  • Keeping a phone on each floor or wearing a medical alert device in case you fall and need help.

How can I get a home safety assessment?

If you’ve recently been hospitalized, your doctor may prescribe a home safety assessment as part of your post-discharge treatment. However, even if you haven’t been recently discharged but are receiving home health care services, you may be eligible for a home safety assessment.

Many non-profit and community organizations run fall prevention programs that may provide a home safety assessment. You can visit the National Council on Aging to find a local program and find out if you’re eligible for a home safety assessment.

A home safety assessment can be an important preventive safety measure. In addition, having your vision checked regularly may also reduce your risk for falls.

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