A Guide to Safety in the Home for Seniors

a guide to safety in the home for older people and seniors

This information has been prepared to identify hazards in the home and to enhance safety. We hope that these suggestions will help prevent accidents and falls and improve home safety.


Falls represent a serious hazard for seniors, posing a threat to the quality and length of life. Approximately one-third of seniors living at home experience at least one fall per year, while two-thirds living in long term care facilities experience a fall. Both aging and frailty contribute to an increased incidence of falls among the older population.
Fall prevention techniques include postural stability exercises as well as safety precautions. Rehabilitation focuses on functional independence and improved awareness of hazardous conditions. Although research has focused attention on falls, neither specific causes nor effective methods of preventing them have been well delineated. It is therefore important to address safety issues in an effort to minimize injuries and occurrences of falls.

All Rooms

  • Keep all electrical cords out of high traffic areas to avoid tripping
  • Repair unsteady furniture
  • In doorways, thresholds should be removed or covered with carpet
  • Develop an emergency exit plan in case of fire
  • Mark sliding glass doors with stickers to avoid walking into them
  • Keep house well lit to prevent tripping or bumping into unseen objects
  • Elevate seat height with a firm cushion to assist you to a standing position
  • Make sure the smoke detectors are working
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the house
  • Make sure the pathway between furniture is wide enough for wheelchairs, canes and walkers
  • Remove throw rugs from areas with vinyl, tile or wooden flooring
  • Check that irons are unplugged or turned off when you are finished using them

Personal Attire

  • Wear non-skid shoes rather than socks when walking indoors and out
  • Wear clothing without long or loose sleeves which could touch hot surfaces or catch on knobs when cooking
  • Wear a hat when gardening in the sun
  • Whenever possible, wear lace-up shoes to better support your feet and ankles
  • Never stand on wet floors barefoot