One of the impediments we have found over the years is that seniors seem reluctant to spend money on their homes. That includes getting professional help to, from time to time, for example, cleaning out the lint build-up in a clothes dryer vent. That fear of spending money to get professional help to make a residence safer is as sure a threat as any other.



  • Consider a medical alert or a buddy system.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and smoke detector on every floor.
  • Use extreme caution when smoking. Never smoke when alone or in bed.
  • Always get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Take your time, and make sure you have your balance.
  • Wear proper fitting shoes with low heels.
  • Use a correctly measured walking aid.
  • Remove scatter rugs. Tack down all others.
  • Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
  • Avoid using slippery wax on floors.
  • Wipe up spills promptly.
  • Avoid standing on ladders or chairs.
  • Have sturdy rails for all stairs inside and outside the house.
  • Use only non-glare 100 watt bulbs (or greater wattage).
  • Make sure that all stair cases have good lighting with switches at top and bottom.
  • Staircase steps should have a non-slip surface.
  • Pay the necessary money to have professionals keep an eye on appliances that could become fire hazards without proper maintenance such as furnaces and clothes driers.


  • Consider leaving a light on in your bathroom at night.
  • Use recommended bath holding bars, securely installed on the walls of the bath/shower stall and on the sides of the toilet. You can't have too many of those.
  • safe home for elderlySkid-proof the tub and make sure the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
  • To avoid scalding, turn water heater to 120°  Fahrenheit or below.
  • Mark cold and hot faucets clearly.
  • Use door locks that can be opened from both sides.
  • If possible, bathe when someone is around.


  • Keep floors clean and uncluttered.
  • Illuminate work areas.
  • Mark "on" and "off" positions on appliances clearly and with bright color.
  • Store sharp knives in a rack.
  • Use a kettle with an automatic shut off.
  • Store heavier objects at waist level.
  • Store hazardous items separate from food.
  • Avoid wearing long, lose clothing when cooking over the stove.

Drug Safety

  • Review your medicines frequently with your doctor or pharmacist and when you take new medication.
  • Make sure your medicines are clearly labeled.
  • Read medicine labels in good light to ensure you have the right medicine and always take the correct dose.
  • Dispose of any old or used medicines.
  • Never borrow prescription drugs from others.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you mix alcohol and your drugs.
  • Have medication dispensed in a bubble pack or convenient dosette.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before mixing non-prescription drugs and prescription drugs.

We wish to thank the Care Division of the Victoria, B.C. Capital Regional District for permission to reproduce this information contained in their "Home Safe" brochure.