Many older adults choose to age in place, sometimes in homes where they have lived for years. It makes sense to stay in a home that you love, where you feel most comfortable. But, did you know that your house can harbor hidden safety hazards for an aging resident?

Before it’s too late, take some time to consider the safety tips offered in this article. After assessing your home’s safety needs, you may decide to make upgrades to eliminate hazards. The good news is that Medicare will cover some home safety upgrades.

Make Your Home as Fall-Proof as Possible

One-third of older adults suffer injuries from falls every year. Most of these falls occur in or around the home. You can help prevent falls by making a few simple changes around your house. Some of these changes require no tools or expertise. Other adaptations can be made by a handyman or a skilled family member.

  • Declutter. Remove excess items from your home. Piles of books and papers left on the floor can cause someone to trip and fall. Boxes, crates, old furniture, or other items should be cleared from your rooms to create safe pathways through the house.
  • Install Safety Aids. Prevent falls by installing grab bars in the bathroom, near the toilet, and in the shower. Install sturdy railings in all stairways, on porches, and around deck or patio areas.
  • Provide Safe Floor Surfaces. Remove small area rugs that may slip. Flooring should be skid resistant, and large rugs or carpet must be flat, secure, and stable on the floor. Place rubber mats in bathrooms and showers.
  • Consider Pets. Pets provide love and emotional support for older adults, but they can become a fall hazard when they get underfoot. Be sure that pets and pet toys are not in the pathway of older adults.

Upgrade Furniture, Lighting, and Systems in Your Home

Many simple upgrades can increase a home’s safety for older adult residents. As your needs change, make adaptations to keep your home safe.

  • Lighting. Install adequate task lighting in the kitchen work areas. Place night lights in bathrooms, hallways, and bedrooms for safety at night. Use automatic timers for outdoor lighting and indoor lamps. Outdoor motion detection lights also add to night safety.
  • Fire Safety. Test and replace batteries in smoke alarms. Keep fire extinguishers handy.
  • Mobility. When the need arises, install mobility aids. Call on professionals to install stairlifts, ramps, or widened doorways that can accommodate wheelchairs.
  • Furniture, Cabinetry, Fixtures. Clear out old furniture that is not sturdy. Provide furniture with rounded corners. Place kitchen items on low shelves within easy reach. Replace twist-and-turn door knobs with single lever handles.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) will cover durable medical equipment (DME) that your doctor prescribes for safety and mobility in your home. DME includes commode chairs, hospital beds, patient lifts, and more. While you make safety upgrades to your home, be sure to check with your doctor about Medicare coverage and DME.

Bottom Line

Do a walk-through assessment of your home’s safety. Do you see any hazards? If so, take appropriate action and make upgrades to ensure your safety or the safety of older adults living in your house. Precautions taken in a timely fashion can prevent future accidents for older adults.

If you’d like to learn more about how Medicare may cover some home safety upgrades, please fill out this form or give us a call. Time for 65’s licensed insurance brokers are here to provide the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.