BScN, RN, GNC(C) President,
Eldercare Home Health Inc.

There are so many elements to consider in a home safety assessment. The priority will always depend on the abilities and the wishes of the individual Client. Below are some commom themes and issues that need to be addressed in any home safety assessment. Also, a long distance home safety assessment is not ideal. This is the kind of exercise that needs to be accomplished onsite.

The issues that are addressed will vary depending on whether home is a house, apartment, condominium, bungalow or multi-storey dwelling.

Challenges in balance, gait and the need for assistive devices such as a walker or wheelchair need to be taken into consideration when evaluating senior safety in a a home. A stairlift, handrail or ramp may be needed for those with strength, balance and other mobility impairments. The width of doorways, hallways and stairways may have an impact.

For all rooms of the house it is advised to reduce clutter and remove throw rugs. Smoke detectors should be present. If the resident smokes, are they doing so safely? If there are pets in the home, can the resident ake care of the needs of the pet such as litter box changes, daily walks, feeding, provision of fresh water, fish bowl cleaning etc?

Memory affects safety. Will the resident remember to eat and drink adequately? Can they safely manage the stove? Can they learn how to use a microwave?

How are medications organized? Perhaps a blister pack would be appropriate, or a dossette. Meals on Wheels delivery might be helpful for some – for others, a visit from a caregiver or companion each day might be suitable.

These are some general thoughts with regard to senior safety in the home. The abilities, personality and wishes of the individual will dictate which ones are the best choice.

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