How to make your home safe in retirement

Nearly 80 per cent of falls from people aged 65 and over happen in the bathroom.

The idea of safe guarding your home most likely makes you think of protecting toddlers or young children but did you know that around a third of people aged 65 or older fall in their own homes each year?

However, steps can be taken to keep you or your parents safe from falls or other perils at home. 

According to US-website Good Call, the most dangerous place in your home is the bathroom. The National Institute of Ageing agrees, saying that nearly 80 per cent of falls by people aged 65 or older happen in the bathroom. 

Below you’ll find Good Call’s room-by-room checklist on how to safeguard each room in your home.

While some of the in-home modifications can be done easily enough, Good Call recommends consulting with experts before commencing on any major renovations – especially in Australia as you’ll need council approval in order to make any major changes to your home.

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Bathroom

  • Is there a walk-in shower?
  • Toilet seat should 43 to 50cms high, which facilitates getting up
  • Good lighting
  • Wide doorways
  • Night light
  • Grab bars on the walls of the shower/tub and on the sides of the toilet
  • Skid proof tub with a no-slip mat
  • Keep water heater at 48 degrees C or lower
  • Door locks that open from both sides

Bedroom

  • Good lighting
  • Wide doorways
  • Remove throw rugs
  • Don’t allow cords in walkways
  • Door locks open from both sides
  • Bed rail or transfer pole to help with getting out of bed
  • Slip-prevention footboards

Kitchen

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  • Good lighting
  • Wide doorways
  • Use coffee pots with auto shut-off feature
  • Store knives in a rack
  • Keep a charged fire extinguisher handy
  • Easy-to-operate handles cabinet handles – C or D shaped
  • Store often-used tools and food within easy reach

Living Room

  • Good lighting
  • Wide doorways
  • Remove unnecessary or unwanted furniture.
  • Don’t allow any cords in walk areas – cordless phones and other devices are best
  • Skid proof rugs

Other tips for safe guarding your home:

  • Good lighting
  • Wide doorways
  • Make sure stairs have railings
  • Regularly replace batteries in smoke detectors
  • Home security system

Is your home safe?