Healthy Homes Principle 4 – “Keep It Safe”

Keep It Safe:  The most common injury in the home is falls, sometimes as a result of slips and trips as well.  Keeping our homes safe is vital to prevent falls and other injuries.

Check your stairs for good lighting and a switch at the top and bottom of the stairs to provide adequate lighting. Also check the steps and stair treads to ensure they are secure. If there is carpet on the stairs, make sure it is stretched tightly so there is no extra fabric on which to catch your foot. If the stairs are uncarpeted, you can paint the risers a different color than the tread surface to provide additional visual clues. Check any throw rugs to ensure that the corners and edges are secured to prevent slipping or tripping on the edges. On the stairways, check the stability of the railing and if necessary, consider adding a railing to the opposite side if one is not already installed to provide greater stability when using the stairs.


safe stairs for seniors


Good lighting is vital in all rooms of the house, especially in the bathrooms as more falls tend to happen in the bathroom with the tile floors and throw rugs. Consider motion activated lighting in the hallways to ensure that you can see where you are walking and keep an eye out for obstacles. Good lighting is also important outside the house as well. Many garages have motion-detection activated lighting so the lights come on as you drive up to the garage or are walking near the garage. The paths and walkways should also be illuminated and take a look to see if a hand rail along the walkway is possible to create greater safety along the path.

The two most common safety features for any home environment are the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries annually, at a minimum and test them monthly to ensure that they are in good working order.

For family members and caregivers for seniors for whom checking these devices is a chore, please do it for them. It is a gift!