Family Life




Enhance Home Safety for the Elderly with this Checklist

Enhance Home Safety for the Elderly with this Checklist

Safeguarding the home is at the top of mind for most people. When it comes to your elderly loved ones, you also want to make sure they feel at ease in their own home. To provide peace of mind and eliminate uncertainty, we've created a comprehensive checklist to ensure the safety and security of your elderly family members in their homes. Follow these simple steps to take the guesswork and uncertainty out of safeguarding your home.

Key Points

  • A secure living environment supports independence and provides peace of mind for elderly individuals.
  • Specific areas of the home should be assessed for elderly safety, including cord placement, rug safety, emergency numbers, smoke detectors, electrical outlets, space heaters, wood-burning equipment, and emergency exit plans.
  • Complete regular testing and maintenance of safety measures to ensure their effectiveness.
  • It's essential to ensure proper installation and compliance with local codes when dealing with wood-burning equipment or other potentially hazardous devices.

All Areas of the Home

Check All Cords:

1. Are lamp, extension, and telephone cords placed out of the flow of traffic? YES___ *NO___

2. Are cords out from beneath furniture and rugs or carpeting? YES___ *NO___

3. Are cords attached to the walls, baseboards, etc., with nails or staples? *YES___ NO___

4. Are electrical cords in good condition, not frayed or cracked? YES___ *NO___
5. Do extension cords carry more than their proper load, as indicated by the ratings labeled on the cord and the appliance? *YES___ NO___

Check All Rugs, Runners, and Mats:

1. Are all small rugs and runners slip-resistant? YES___ *NO___
2. Are emergency numbers posted on or near the telephone? YES___ *NO___
3. Do you have access to a telephone if you fall (or experience some other emergency that prevents you from
4. standing and reaching a wall phone)? YES___ *NO___

Check Smoke Detectors:

1. Are smoke detectors properly located? YES___ *NO___
2. Do you have properly working smoke detectors? YES___ *NO___

Check Electrical Outlets and Switches:

1. Are any outlets and switches unusually warm or hot to the touch? *YES___ NO___
2, Do all outlets and switches have cover plates, so that no wiring is exposed? YES___ *NO___
3. Are light bulbs the appropriate size and type for the lamp or fixture? YES___ *NO___

Check Space Heaters:

1. Are heaters that come with a 3-prong plug being used in a 3-hole outlet or with a properly attached adapter? YES___ *NO___
2. Are small stoves and heaters placed where they can not be knocked over, and away from furnishings and flammable materials, such as curtains or rugs? YES___ *NO___
3. If your home has space heating equipment, such as a kerosene heater, a gas heater, or an LP gas heater, do you understand the installation and operating instructions thoroughly? YES___ *NO___
Review the installation and operating instructions. Call your local fire department if you have additional questions.

Check Woodburning Heating Equipment:

1. Is woodburning equipment installed properly? YES___ *NO___
Some insurance companies will not cover fire losses if wood stoves are not installed according to local codes.

Check Emergency Exit Plan:

1. Do you have an emergency exit plan and an alternate emergency exit plan in case of a fire? YES___ *NO___
Develop an emergency exit plan. Choose a meeting place outside your home so you can be sure that everyone is capable of escaping quickly and safely. Practice the plan from time to time to make sure everyone is capable of escaping quickly and safely.


Check the Range Area:

1. Are towels, curtains, and other things that might catch fire located away from the range? YES___ *NO___
2. Do you wear clothing with short or close-fitting sleeves while you are cooking? YES___ *NO___
3. Are kitchen ventilation systems or range exhausts functioning properly and are they in use while you are cooking? YES___ *NO___
4. Are all extension cords and appliance cords located away from the sink or range areas? YES___ *NO___
5. Does good, even lighting exist over the stove, sink, and countertop work areas, especially where food is sliced or cut? YES___ *NO___
6. Do you have a step stool that is stable and in good repair? YES___ *NO___

Living Room/Family Room

Check Chimneys:

1. Are chimneys clear from accumulations of leaves, and other debris that can clog them? YES___ *NO___
2. Has the chimney been cleaned within the past year? YES___ *NO___

Check the Telephone Area:

See “All Areas of the Home” above and be sure to check for cords and other telephone items.

Check Passageways:

1. Are hallways, passageways between rooms, and other heavy traffic areas well-lit? YES___ *NO___
2. Install night lights. Reduce glare by using frosted bulbs, indirect lighting, shades or globes on light fixtures, or partially closing blinds or curtains. Consider using additional lamps or light fixtures. Ensure that the bulbs you use are the right type and wattage for the light fixture.
3. Are exits and passageways kept clear? YES___ *NO___

Check the Living Room/Family Room and passageways for all items under “All Areas of the Home” above.

In the Bathroom

Check Bathtub/Shower Areas:

1. Are bathtubs and showers equipped with non-skid mats, abrasive strips, or surfaces that are not slippery? YES___ *NO___
2. Do bathtubs and showers have at least one (preferably two) grab bars? YES___ *NO___
3. Is the temperature 120 degrees or lower? YES___ *NO___

Check Lighting:

1. Is a light switch located near the entrance to the bathroom? YES___ *NO___

Check Small Electrical Appliances:

1. Are small electrical appliances such as hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, etc., unplugged when not in use? YES___ *NO___

Check Medications:

1. Are all medicines stored in the containers that they came in and are they clearly marked? YES___ *NO___
Many poisonings occur when children visiting grandparents go through the medicine cabinet or grandmother's purse. In homes where grandchildren or other youngsters are frequent visitors, medicines should be purchased in containers with child-resistant caps, and the caps properly closed after each use. Store medicines beyond the reach of children.

Check the Bathroom and neighboring areas for all items under “All Areas of the Home” above.

In the Bedrooms

Check Areas Around Beds:

1. Are lamps or light switches within reach of each bed? YES___ *NO___
2. Are ash trays, smoking materials, or other fire sources (heaters, hot plates, teapots, etc.) located away from beds or bedding? YES___ *NO___
3. Is anything covering your electric blanket when in use? *YES___ NO___
“Tucking in” electric blankets, or placing additional coverings on top of them can cause excessive heat buildup which can start a fire.
4. Do you avoid “tucking in” the sides or ends of your electric blanket? YES___ *NO___
5. Do you ever go to sleep with a heating pad that is turned on? *YES___ NO___
6. Is there a telephone close to your bed? YES___ *NO___

Check the Bathroom and neighboring areas for all items under “All Areas of the Home” above.

In the Basement/Garage/Workshop/Storage Areas

Check Lighting:

1. Are work areas, especially areas where power tools are used, well-lit? YES___ *NO___
2. Can you turn on the lights without first walking through a dark area? YES___ *NO___

Check Fuse Box or Circuit Breakers:

1. If fuses are used, are they the correct size for the circuit? YES___ *NO___

Check Appliances and Power Tools:

1. Are power tools equipped with a 3-prong plug or marked to show that they are double insulated? YES___ *NO___
2. Are power tools guards in place? YES___ *NO___
3. Has the grounding feature on any 3-prong plug been defeated by removing the grounding pin or improperly using an adapter? *YES___ NO___

Check Flammable and Volatile Liquids:

1. Are containers of volatile liquids tightly capped? YES___ *NO___
If not tightly closed, vapors may escape that may be toxic when inhaled. Check containers periodically to make sure they are tightly closed.
CPSC has reports of several cases in which gasoline, stored as much as 10 feet from a gas water heater, exploded. Many people are unaware that gas fumes can travel that far.
2. Are gasoline, paints, solvents, or other products that give off vapors or fumes stored away from ignition sources? YES___ *NO___

Check the Basement/Garage/Workshop/Storage areas for all items under “All Areas of the Home” above.


Check Lighting:

1. Are stairs well-lighted? YES___ *NO___
2. Are light switches located at both the top and bottom of the stairs? YES___ *NO___

Check Steps:

1. Do the steps allow secure footing? YES___ *NO___
2. Are steps even and of the same size and height? YES___ *NO___
3. Are the coverings on the steps in good condition? YES___ *NO___
4. Can you clearly see the edges of the steps? YES___ *NO___
5. Is anything stored on the stairway, even temporarily? *YES___ NO___

Check Stairways and neighboring areas for all items under “All Areas of the Home” above.

By following this home safety checklist, you can create a secure living environment for your elderly loved ones. Ensuring their safety and well-being allows them to maintain independence and peace of mind in their own home.

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