10 Tips on Home Safety for Seniors

Stock Image of a Senior’s Home

What should a family caregiver look for specifically? Here are 10 age-friendly home safety tips for seniors:

  1. Remove fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors. To reduce fall risk and encourage home safety for seniors, one of the most important things to do is to make the home fall-safe. You can achieve this by doing the following:
    • Remove throw rugs. These may be decorative but often lack a rubberized backing to better grip the floor.
    • Clean up piled clutter. This includes newspapers, loose clothes, and shoes.
    • Discard or donate old furniture.
    • Create a more open environment. This will be easier to do if Mom or Dad is still walking rather than using a wheelchair or walker. In the latter case, doorways should be at least 32” across to allow for access. Consider any tight corners before or after a doorway. These may restrict access and make maneuverability impossible.
    • Avoid stretching extension cords across the floor.
    • Make sure that your loved one wears non-slip footwear when inside.
  2. Keep emergency numbers handy. Does your loved one own a cell phone? Watch mom or dad take or make a call – is there any difficulty? Cell phones can have many extra bells and whistles. Consider a more basic model. Seniors can find excessive options confusing, costly, and completely unnecessary. Equip the feature for larger keypad numbers and a display window. These will be easier to press and see. You can also set up a “call display” feature on a telephone. Mom or Dad can immediately recognize an incoming call as either from a family member or a stranger.Aging brains can’t always remember emergency information. Make it easy for your loved one to call for help by posting a note in large letters by every phone and on the back of their cell phone. Make sure to list the following:
    • 911
    • Emergency contacts (family members and friends)
    • Your senior’s professional caregiving service
    • Your senior’s healthcare provider office
    • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  3. Protect against fire. Home safety for seniors also includes removing fire hazards from within the home.
    • Change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly (after seasonal time changes).
    • Check the electric cords of all appliances and lamps in your loved one’s home. Replace any frayed or damaged cords and limit the number of cords plugged into power strips.
    • Remove candles from the home. If left burning and unattended, candles can start a fire.
    • Remind seniors to stay low when exiting the home in a fire. This reduces the chance of smoke inhalation. Coach seniors on how to “stop, drop, and roll” if their clothes ignite.
    • Discourage the use of space heaters. If your loved one insists on using one, place it at least three feet away from curtains, bedding, or furniture. Remind your loved one to turn off the space heater before going to bed or leaving the house.
  4. Ensure a safe bathroom. The bathroom can be the riskiest room in a senior’s home. Falls and scalding often occur here. To ensure your loved one’s safety, make sure that you address the following issues:
    • Install grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet.
    • Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent accidental burns.
    • Put rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
    • Consider replacing the original bathtub with a walk-in model instead.
    • Place a special bathing chair in the tub. Your best choice for a bathing chair is one that will also fit in the shower.
    • Install a hand-held showerhead. These can be easier to use, especially when cleaning hard-to-reach places.
    • Replace the original toilet seat with a raised toilet seat with handlebars. Toilets should be between 17 and 19 inches in height. Seniors will find it easier to sit and stand.
    • Remove the bathroom mirror. If mom or dad is showing early signs of dementia, seeing an unfamiliar face looking back at them may be startling.
    • Install a nightlight in the bathroom. This will help seniors who may make repeated trips to the bathroom overnight. Install a nightlight or two on the route to the bathroom as well so that seniors can find their way.
  5. Assess the bedroom. You may not think that danger can lurk in a senior’s bedroom, but think again! Seniors can encounter several potential risks here. Do the following to make the bedroom safe for your loved one:
    • Replace a sagging, softer mattress with a firmer one. This will be far more comfortable, provide more support, and not trap a resting senior.
    • Fit the bedroom with a telescoping grab bar that extends between the floor and ceiling. My family placed one of these beside Mom’s side of the bed for her to hold on to when getting in or out of bed.
    • Replace the round bedroom doorknob with a single-lever instead. A senior can easily push this lever down to open the door. While you’re at it, replace all other round doorknobs in the senior’s home as well.
  6. Assess lighting. Aging eyes don’t always work as they once did. Seniors may misjudge or completely avoid darkened areas in their home.
    • Replace any burnt-out light bulbs.
    • Install new light fixtures.
    • Install motion detection lighting inside and outside the home.
    • Test all lighting by standing in one corner of a room and looking across the room. Can you see a clear path? If not, brighten things up with more lights.
  7. Visit the senior’s kitchen. The kitchen is often the heart of a home. Therefore, it seems only fitting that family caregivers should spend considerable time making this room safer for a senior.
    • Pull down any stored items from higher heights. Gauge these items for usage. Are they still working? How often are they used? If they work and are still used frequently, store these items at lower levels.
    • Is reaching for items required? If so, provide Mom or Dad with a stepstool. Look for a stool no more than one or two steps in height.
    • Provide rubberized water faucet covers for the kitchen sink. These can be easier to grip and turn and are color-coded: red for hot and blue for cold. Family caregivers can often find these products at a senior’s supply store.
    • Replace standard “twist and turn” kitchen water faucet handles with “single-lever” handles instead. Seniors can find these far easier to use.
    • Open the refrigerator. Wipe it clean and discard any stored foods passed their “best before” date. Do the same thing with pantry cupboards. When grocery-shopping for mom or dad, family caregivers should think about smaller portions and nutrition. Seniors, after all, may eat less, eat less often, or forget to eat entirely. If mom or dad is living in a group home with a communal dining room, major daily meals will be provided. Mom or dad may still want to nibble in between meals so family caregivers can stock them up with healthy snacks (e.g. yogurt, granola bars, nuts, cheese and crackers, and fruit).
  8. Consider any stairs. My parent’s first retirement home was a beautiful property. However, the outside stairs posed a problem for my mother since she was losing strength and flexibility due to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, she would routinely and doggedly pull herself up these stairs to reach the front door.
    • Look into stairlifts. Stairlifts can be custom fitted inside or outside the senior’s home. Call a qualified provider in your parent’s home city and book an appointment to see what is possible. Stairlifts can often carry heavy weight capacities. Safety mechanisms can stop the stairlift if there is something blocking the way. They also operate on a battery system and will not fail in the case of a power outage.
    • Test stair railings. You don’t have to be a home handyman to do this. Grab the railing and try to shake it back and forth. If the railing wiggles (even somewhat), it’s time to fix it. Tighten all nuts and bolts or replace the railing.
    • Differentiate between stair steps. With partial vision, a senior may be unable to separate one step from the next. To increase home safety for seniors, family caregivers can paint stair tops a contrasting color. Stretching a piece of different-colored duct tape over the top of each stair can also make each step easier to spot.
    • Clear the stairs (and outside sidewalks) of ice and snow in the wintertime. If you can’t routinely do this yourself, hire a local service to do it. If no such service exists, offer the job to a neighbor’s youngster with appropriate pay.
  9. Remain safe in the home. Review common sense safety measures with your loved one. It can be tempting to open the door to someone who “looks nice” but beware. Here are some other things to do and to remind your senior about:
    • Install a peephole in your senior’s front door.
    • Do not open the door to strangers when home alone. Place a reminder note on the wall beside the front door saying, “Do you know this person? If not, do not open the door.”
    • Always keep windows and doors locked.
    • Install a mail slot in the front door to prevent mail theft.
    • Do not agree to any telephone offers. Do not believe a caller’s claims that a family member is in danger. Do not share your financial information or your Social Security number over the phone. If someone is in true danger, a police officer will come to visit you.
    • Alert your loved one about ongoing scams targeting seniors.
  10. Check in with them – frequently. Finally, home safety for seniors means checking in with your loved one. You, your loved one’s neighbors, and a professional caregiver can help to make sure they are safe.
    • Do you live in the same town or city as your aging parent? Drop in unannounced to get a better idea of how your parents are truthfully doing.
    • Monitor a senior in extreme hot or cold weather (when the risk of heat stroke or frostbite is higher).
    • Encourage your loved one to wear an alert necklace to call emergency services in the event of a fall.
    • Remind a senior to move more slowly from one room to the next – there is often no reason to rush.
    • Recommend your senior to call you for help before trying to tackle a cleaning or repair job independently.

Wondering how to support a loved one’s goal of being able to age at home? We’re here to help. Whether it’s for one month or ten years, our caregivers can help your loved one live the life they want at home. Call a Care Advisor today at 650-770-1456 or click here to schedule a free assessment and learn more about how we can support your needs.

This can seem to be a long – and perhaps overwhelming – “to-do” list for family caregivers. Choose one job to start with or delegate the tasks between other family members. By safeguarding the senior’s home, you will be encouraging the senior to remain at home – healthy and happy. And that means less worry for both of you over the long term!


The National Council on Aging


Learn about our senior care services here: https://homecareassistance.com/senior-elderly-care

Teaching Kids About Fire Safety

By Robin McClure Updated on August 29, 2019

If a fire started in your home, would your kids know what to do? It’s important to regularly review fire safety with kids so you will all be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. Childcare providers, teachers, and parents should work together to teach children of all ages about fire safety.1

Talk Smoke Detectors

Teach children about smoke detectors: Why they are installed, how they work, and the sound that they make. Children need to be able to associate the sound with a fire. Adults should change batteries regularly to avoid having the alarm go off because its battery is low; this could frighten a child.

Firefighters recommend changing your smoke detectors’ batteries every time you turn your clocks ahead or back for Daylight Saving Time.2

Plan Escape Routes
Fireman talking to young children about fire safety
Blend Images – Stewart Cohen/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Practice Opening Windows

Make sure that windows, especially in bedrooms, are not stuck closed, that screens can be removed quickly, and that security bars can be opened. Older kids should learn how to complete these tasks on their own in the event of an emergency.4

Use Escape Ladders

Place escape ladders near second-floor bedroom windows, and have children practice using them. For very young kids, you may want to practice a first-floor window exit just to give them some idea of what to expect.5

Touch Door and Check For Heat

Instruct kids how to check doors to see if they are hot, and if so, how to find another way out. Fire safety for children includes having them find a towel to use for handling, touching or grabbing items to avoid burns and to also use the towel or cover to protect their faces and cover their mouths.

If both exits of a room are blocked, kids should get as low as possible. Lie on the ground, near the bed if possible; that’s where firefighters will look for them.6

Use Your Hands, Not Your Eyes

Children should practice feeling their way out of the home in the dark or with their eyes closed. Turn this into a game by blindfolding your child and asking them to feel their way to a designated area. Daycares and childcare providers can set it up as an obstacle course, and then provide cues and help so that when they reach a designated endpoint, a special treat awaits. (It could be as simple as lunch served outside.)Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Fire Safety7

Sing a Song

Consider teaching a fire escape song to reinforce the need to get out of a burning building. Sing these words to the tune of “Frere Jacques”: “There’s a fire! There’s a fire! Must get out! Must get out! Stay away from fire! Stay away from fire! It is hot. It is hot.”8

Stop, Drop and Roll

Teach children what to do in the event that their clothes catch fire. Make sure they understand “stop, drop, and roll.” Act it out for them and have them practice with you. Many fire-related injuries can be avoided or minimized if a child heeds this advice instead of running.9

Out Means Stay Out

Teach children that once they are out of a burning house or building, they must go to the designated meeting place and never, ever venture back in. If a family member or a pet is missing, they should inform a firefighter or adult. There are too many tragedies where an individual who has gotten out safely ventures back into the home or building.10

Practice Monthly

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year; monthly is even better. Just like schools, child care centers and homes should also practice fire drills.

5 Important Points to Teach in an Early Childhood Fire Safety Lesson

By Shaunna Evans

Fire Prevention Week is is at the beginning of October, and young students all around the country will be learning about the importance of fire safety and fire prevention. Whether you have your own classroom or are teaching your children at home, it is important to teach your children how to prevent fires and also what to do if a fire breaks out unexpectedly.  We’ve partnered with WittyWe to share 5 key components we like to include in a fire saftey lesson for little learners. Below each concept we’ve also added some simple ways to make the lesson memorable for kids. Often if we practice beforehand in a calm state kids are better equipped to handle emergency situations.  

fire safety lessons for little learners with WittyWe

Incorporating instructional videos into lessons can also be a great way to get kids engaged in a new topic. We recommend kicking off your fire safety lesson with the fire prevention resources available on WittyWe.com.  Then build on the information learned there and include these five important points for early learners.


1) Keep hands off of matches, lighters or anything fire related. Ask an adult to help you if you need to light a candle or to heat something up. Use flashlights in the dark if needed instead of candles, unless supervised by an adult. 

Make it memorable: Bring in objects that are safe to touch and objects that are not safe to touch. Use pictures instead of objects if you prefer. As a group talk about each of the objects and sort those that are safe to touch and those that are not safe to touch.

2) It is fun to roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and sit around a camp fire, but always make sure to stay at at least an arm’s length distance when sitting around a fire or cooking over a grill.  

Make it memorable: Make a pretend camp fire, and practice staying an arm’s length away. This is a great component to add into an early childhood camping or summer theme, too.

3) If your clothes catch on fire remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL as it will take away the oxygen that keeps the fire burning. Below is a diagram from the WittyWe video we watched as part of our fire safety study. We love being able to freeze the video to reinforce important details. 

Make it memorable: Often we take time to discuss STOP, DROP, and ROLL, but the idea will stick with kids much better if you actually give them the chance to practice. Make it fun by singing a little song as you do!

4) If a fire starts in the house or at school, go to the nearest exit and wait for the rest of your group in a safe place outside.  If a door is hot, NEVER go through it. If you are on the ground floor try a window instead, or wait for help as far away from the door as possible.  

Make it memorable: Draw a class or family map showing where to go in the event of a fire. Take time to practice going to that location.

5) NEVER go back inside a burning building! Make sure you or an adult call 911, and the firefighters will be there quickly to help stop the fire using water and other types of extinguishers depending on the kind of fire it is.

Make it memorable: Use a pretend phone to practice dialing 911. Also be sure to mention the only times kids are allowed to dial 911.


There’s a lot more to WittyWe than fire safety resources. You’ll also find information about a ton of other interesting topics that your kids will enjoy!

WittyWe offers over 60 online courses for kids on school curriculum topics from Kindergarten through 9th grade. Our favorite feature on WittyWe is that the lessons are animated and are engaging to all ages. They even come paired with interactive quizzes and online summaries. Here’s a peek at the video we watched to go along with our fire safety lessons. 

Right now WittyWe is offering a free 90 day trial for Classroom Teachers, Homeschoolers and Parents. Pop in and sign up today. 

Fire prevention week may fall in October, but it is never too early or too late to teach and encourage fire safety to young children. Online resources are one of the great tools we can use to help supplement our Fire Prevention curriculum. Let’s work together to educate our children in preventing fires, and also empower them to know what to do in the event of a fire breaks out.

15 Fire Safety Tips for Kids They’ll Never Forget

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Oct 26, 2016

Keep your family safe from accidents with these fire safety tips for kids.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 49,300 fires are caused each year by playing with fire, most of these by children. It’s especially important to teach fire safety tips to kids in part to prevent fires from happening and in part so that if an accident does occur, your children will know how to protect themselves. Here’s how you can teach your kids to be safe.

1. Don’t play with matches or lighters

This is probably the most important and common fire safety tip for kids. Teach your children to stay away from matches and lighters and to never, ever use them without adult supervision and permission. The next tips are for older kids who you may trust with matches around the house.

2. Run extinguished matches under water before discarding

Of all the fire safety tips for kids, this is an easy one to teach by example. If your kids see you run water over a match before tossing it, they will do it themselves in the future so that paper in the trash doesn’t accidentally ignite.

3. Never leave candles or incense burning

This tip is probably for your older children, but it doesn’t hurt to teach them when they’re young that leaving exposed heat sources going is a recipe for disaster. Turn off space heaters and extinguish candles and incense whenever you leave a room.

4. Don’t over-plug

In this day and age, we have more electronic devices than ever. Teach your children not to plug too many devices into a single outlet, whether through the use of extension cords or power strips. Even better, for younger kids, teach them to ask you before they plug in a new device.

5. Don’t play near fireplaces or stoves

It’s all fun and games until a piece of loose clothing gets too near an open flame or the fireplace grate. Teach your children to play far away from stoves and active fireplaces.

6. Keep flammable objects away from the stove

For those children learning to cook, make sure they know to keep things like dishtowels and oven mitts away from exposed heat sources. It only takes a split second for these to catch fire and cause damage.

7. Develop and practice an escape plan

Fire safety tips for kids should include an escape plan. Make sure your children know what to do in the event of a fire. Map out a plan and practice it with them so they’ll know what to do in an emergency.

8. Get low, get out

If an alarm goes off, your children should get low and get out. Teach them about the dangers of smoke as well as fire, and make sure they know to crawl to safety.

9. Stop, drop, and roll

One of the classic fire safety tips for kids is to stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch fire. Show your children what this looks like and have them practice it with you. It could save their lives.

10. Never hide in closets or under beds

Fires can be scary, but hiding from them can be fatal. Tell your kids never to hide in enclosed areas where they could become trapped.

11. Leave your belongings

We’re all attached to our possessions, but nothing is as important as your life when it comes to fire safety. In case of a fire, leave everything behind and get out.

12. Don’t use the elevator

It’s important that your kids understand an elevator can be a dangerous place when a fire occurs. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your children know to use the stairs instead of an elevator.

13. Once in a safe place, call 911

If there are no adults around, kids escaping a fire should find a safe place like a neighbor’s house and call 911. Don’t ever call 911 from inside a burning building. Get out first.

14. (For parents) Fireproof your home

Help your kids stay safe by safeguarding your home against fires. Use metal gates around stoves and fireplaces to keep children away. Store matches and lighters in a safe place, out of reach of your kids. Don’t allow them to have candles until they’re old enough to understand and respect open flames. Most importantly, practice what you preach!

15. (For parents) Talk to your kids about fire safety

Of all the fire safety tips for kids, the most important one is actually for the parents. Teach your children about fire safety and what they can do to prevent fires. The more they know, the less likely they are to cause an accident.

Need a homeowners insurance policy to cover accidental fires? Pekin Insurance can help! Read more about our home insurance offering and request a quote today.

Do you have fire safety tips for kids we didn’t cover? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.