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Home Safety & Modification

Outdoors
  • Repair cracks and abrupt edges of sidewalks and driveways.
  • Install handrails on stairs and steps.
  • Remove high doorway thresholds.
  • Trim shrubbery along the pathway to the home.
  • Keep walk areas clear of clutter, rocks and tools.
  • Keep walk areas clear of snow and ice.
  • Install adequate lighting by doorways and along walkways leading to doors.
All Living Spaces
  • Use a change in color to denote changes in surface types or levels.
  • Secure rugs with nonskid tape as well as carpet edges.
  • Avoid throw rugs.
  • Remove oversized furniture and objects.
  • Have at least one phone extension in each level of the home and post emergency numbers at each phone.
  • Add electrical outlets.
  • Reduce clutter.
  • Check lighting for adequate illumination and glare control.
  • Maintain nightlights or motion-sensitive lighting throughout home.
  • Use contrast in paint, furniture and carpet colors.
  • Install electronic emergency response system if needed.
Bathrooms
  • Install grab bars on walls around the tub and beside the toilet, strong enough to hold your weight.
  • Add nonskid mats or appliqu├ęs to bathtubs.
  • Mount liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub-wall.
  • Install a portable, hand-held shower head.
  • Add a padded bath or shower seat.
  • Install a raised toilet seat if needed.
  • Use nonskid mats or carpet on floor surfaces that may get wet.

Kitchen

  • Keep commonly used items within easy reach.
  • Avoid using a step stool.
  • Make sure appliance cords are out of the way.
  • Avoid using floor polish or wax in order to reduce slick surfaces.
Living, Dining and Family Rooms
  • Keep electrical and telephone cords out of the way.
  • Arrange furniture so that you can easily move around it (especially low coffee tables).
  • Make sure chairs and couches are easy to get in and out of.
  • Remove caster wheels from furniture.
  • Use television remote control and cordless phone.
Bedroom
  • Put in a bedside light with a switch that is easy to turn on and off (or a touch lamp).
  • Have a nightlight.
  • Locate telephone within reach of bed.
  • Adjust height of bed to make it easy to get in and out of.
  • Have a firm chair, with arms, to sit and dress.
Stairways, Hallways and Pathways
  • Keep free of clutter.
  • Make sure carpet is secured and get rid of throw rugs.
  • Install tightly fastened hand rails running the entire length and along both sides of stairs.
  • Handrails should be 34 inches high and have a diameter of about 1.5 inches.
  • Apply brightly colored tape to the face of the steps to make them more visible.
  • Optimal stair dimensions are 7.2 inch riser heights with either an 11 or 12 inch tread width.
  • Have adequate lighting in stairways, hallways and pathways, with light switches placed at each end.

Additional Resources

CDC Check for Safety Brochure

A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults

Gundersen Health System: Home Safety Checklist

Home Safety Innovations

A local resource specializing in rental ramps and other home safety equipment to keep you safe in your home, serving Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota.