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Home Safety Tips for Seniors

By: Melina Druga contributor

Tactics and strategies helping seniors remain safe in their homes and seniors.

Senior Peering out a secured door

Falling is the leading cause of injury among seniors in the United States.

No one wants to lose their mobility and independence. Unfortunately, every year that’s exactly what happens to so many senior citizens.

Among seniors age 65 and older, the leading cause of injury is falling. In fact, every year around 2 million seniors are hospitalized and around 20,000 seniors die as a consequence of falls.

Seniors also can be injured in other ways, both inside and outside the home. These injuries can be prevented, however, with a few modifications to the home.

Safety Outside the Home

Install the following outside the home to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Hand railings on both sides of stairs.
  • Threshold ramps on both sides of front and back door.
  • Security lights.
  • Grab bars on the both sides of the stairs.
  • Burglar alarms.

If the senior citizen uses a cane, special tips are available for traction on the ice and other slippery surfaces.

Safety Inside the Home

Install the following inside the home to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Lighting in dark areas.
  • Bedside railing.
  • Deadbolt locks on all doors.

In addition, add nonslip padding or carpet tape to rugs to prevent slipping and remove any clutter which could be a tripping hazard. If extension cords are in use, they should be placed along walls, not across the floor.

Bathroom Safety

Install the following inside the bathroom to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Grab bars in the tub and shower as well as around the toilet.
  • Hot-water alarms.
  • Soap dishes, towel holders, toilet-paper dispensers, ect, which cannot come free from the wall.

In addition, all standing areas should have nonslip mats.

Stair Safety

Install the following in and round stairwells to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Grab bars and railings on both sides of the stairs.
  • Stair treads.
  • Lighting on the risers.

In addition, remove clutter from the stairs. If the stairs are carpeted, inspect to be certain it is free of holes or other tripping hazards. There should be a color differentiation between the floor and the edge of the stairs.

Kitchen Safety

Install the following inside the kitchen to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Automatic shut off for stoves to prevent fire.
  • For gas ranges, an automatic cut off in the event of a pilot light failure.
  • Lighting over the range, sink and under the cabinets.

In addition, remove any unneeded objects from countertops and keep cabinets and drawers closed.

Fire Safety

Preventing fires is equally as important as preventing falls and injuries. Be sure to install smoke detectors and have fire extinguishers on hand. For more information on fire safety, visit

Medical Alert / Alarm Systems

Medical alarms are another option for seniors who want to maintain independent living. For a monthly fee, users can send an alert to 911 in the event of a fall or other emergency. The user is required to the device.


  • Automatically alerts authorities in the event of a fall.
  • Allows seniors to live on their own who otherwise would have to live in an assisted-care facility.
  • Devices are waterproof and can be worn while bathing.
  • Alerts caregivers in the event of an emergency.
  • Some models are equipped with GPS.

Over and above home safety tactics are health strategies for avoiding falls. Most falls can be prevented, and using the above as well as these health basics help seniors from falling:

  • Exercising regularly and maintaining proper nutrition. Seniors should focus on exercise that increase balance and increases muscle strength.
  • Asking their pharmacist to review medications for drug interactions and side effects.
  • Having their eyesight checked annually.

Exceptional Sites

The following is a list of exceptional websites where you will find more information on senior home safety.

Crime prevention and personal safety information for older Americans:

The Consumer's Guide to Home Safety for Seniors

Caregivers' Resources

Statistical References:

Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview

Home Safety Self Assessment Tool

Assistive Devices and Helpful Products to Prevent Falls

Improving Home Safety for Seniors