Many older adults would rather stay in their home than move into an assisted living facility or live with relatives. Often, family members want their loved ones to be able to maintain their independence but worry about the possibility of accidents and injuries. A home safety inspection can identify areas of concern so they can be addressed and seniors can safely age in place.
Senior citizens are often treated for broken bones, head trauma, and other types of injuries caused by falls. Many of those accidents are entirely preventable.
A safety inspection can identify common hazards, such as loose rugs, electrical cords on the floor, and clutter, and recommend ways to address them. For example, taping down rugs or replacing them with slip-resistant ones and moving electrical cords to areas near walls can reduce the risk of trip and fall accidents.
An inspection may uncover problems, such as a loose stair railing or poor lighting. If the house doesn’t have light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs and near the entrances to rooms, an inspector may recommend installing additional switches to reduce the risk of falling.
The bathroom is another common site of falls. An inspector may recommend installing grab bars near the toilet and in the shower, in addition to a shower seat and non-slip mats.
A home safety inspector can look for damaged electrical cords and outlets, overloaded surge protectors, and any flammable materials near the stove or space heater. An inspector can also check to see if the house has a sufficient number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure that they are located in appropriate areas and working correctly.
Other Health and Safety Hazards
An inspector can look for other potential dangers in the environment. For example, insufficient lighting in parts of the kitchen where meals are prepared can contribute to cuts and burns.
Tap water that is too hot can cause scalding. A home safety inspector can check the temperature setting on the water heater and may recommend lowering it. An inspector can also spot other potential problems, such as household chemicals that are stored incorrectly, plumbing leaks, and mold.
How to Conduct a Home Safety Inspection
Companies across the United States offer professional home safety inspections. You may want to hire one of those businesses to inspect your loved one’s home, or you may prefer to conduct a safety inspection yourself.
If you choose to perform your own inspection, you can find checklists online that can guide you through the process and help you address all important areas. Once you have completed a home safety inspection, you may need to hire a contractor to make necessary changes.