Most people want to ensure that an older loved one's home is safe and free of hazards, but how do you know what needs to be done? Home safety assessments conducted by highly trained professionals are your best option, but they may be hard to obtain.
Fortunately, an easy do-it-yourself assessment is possible with the Household Safety Checklist.
What It Is
The Household Safety Checklist is an illustrated list of 50 household hazards that put seniors and the elderly at risk. Originally designed for use by home health agency personnel -- who are not usually trained in evaluating home safety -- it can be used by any concerned caregiver to identify hazards and safety issues in an older person's home.
This Household Safety Checklist was created and studied by Robyn Gershon, MHS, DrPH, a public health researcher who specializes in health and safety issues. Since many seniors receive home health services after hospitalization, Gershon developed the checklist to help staffers assess patient homes. She also did research to prove that using the checklist significantly improved the staffers' ability to identify hazards in seniors' homes.
Why It's Important
Many seniors live in homes that are less safe than they could be. Common issues include fall hazards such as loose rugs or dim lighting, clutter or furniture blocking exits, and infestations from mice or insects.
Once potential hazards are spotted, caregivers can report them to a doctor, a social worker, or ask their local Area Agency on Aging for help to get the hazard fixed. By addressing those hazards, caregivers make it easier for an older person to remain more safely in his or her own home.
See the Household Safety Checklist now.