Home Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

By Shirley Brown, Economic Security Team Member at Elder Law of Michigan

The senior population faces many challenges, safety at home being one of them. There are so many safety precautions that need to be taken. After living in a home for over 40 years new ideas can be helpful to enable seniors to live safe, happy lives in their homes. Safety for Seniors at Home reports on a few safety issues that may affect you and some tips to improve the safety of your home.

  1. Remove scattered rugs.
  2. Provide safe walking spaces between and around the furniture in all rooms.
  3. When using oxygen, do not smoke or use an open flame.
  4. Do not overload circuits.
  5. Wear close-fitting sleeves to prevent spills and burns.
  6. Clean up spills immediately.
  7. Use a step stool or handheld tools to reach high shelves.
  8. Place a non-skid mat in bathtub/shower and install grab bars.
  9. Keep doors and drawers closed to prevent getting bruised or tripping.
  10. Keep walking aids within reach and keep a nightlight or flashlight near the bed.

When you live alone, you become more adept at dealing with issues yourself and over time work out ways to handle difficult situations. These tactics may include finding reliable people who will be able to help in certain situations or hiring a plumber or electrician when needed.  Mainly, please remember to be extra careful lifting, carrying, climbing, and reaching.

As people age, they continue to value their independence, however, homes often are not designed to meet the physical needs of seniors. Taking safety precautions is extremely important as sight, hearing, and physical abilities begin to decline.

Medical emergencies are not predictable and cannot always be prevented by taking safety precautions. The article Safety for Seniors at Home recommends keeping your mobile phone charged and emergency contacts nearby. These contacts should include police, fire, your doctor, and any relatives or neighbors that you trust and rely on.

Budget Direct Home Insurance reports several other precautions that are important to take if you live alone.

  1. All exterior doors should have reliable locks and possibly a security system.
  2. Always look before opening doors to see who it is.
  3. Don’t leave extra keys in obvious locations, under mats or potted plants
  4. Secure sliding glass doors with a pipe or metal bar in track of sliding door.
  5. Keep garage doors closed.
  6. Keep drapes and blinds shut, especially where there are expensive items.
  7. Make sure you have installed smoke detectors and have fire extinguishers.

Living alone is sometimes by choice and sometimes by misfortune. This article is not to put fear into those who live alone but only to make it a more pleasant experience. Everyone needs to adhere to safety tips and be aware of their surroundings. We should all be willing to improve our safety by taking precautions and listening to reminders of ways to make our homes as safe as possible. For more safety tips and precautions, check out Home Safety Tips A Comprehensive Resource and Safety at Home.

Shirley L. Brown is a member of the Economic Security Team and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2011. As a member of the Economic Security Team, Shirley focuses on assisting clients with benefits applications such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.