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As older adults age, a large majority want to remain in their homes. These home safety tips for the elderly can help reduce the risk of falling and prevent injuries.

Can you work sitting down? Mobility is the most prevalent senior challenge. Maybe a table which swings in front of you or over the bed would make a nice addition to the furniture. Maybe it is time for a roll-in shower. How much would it cost to lower the counters? Or at least equip the cupboards with rollout bins?

Does your stepstool have handles? Do you have grab bars and a flexible showerhead in the bathroom? Adding these is cheaper and using them is much less painful than recovering from a broken hip if you fall.

Do your smoke detectors work?

Can you hear the doorbell from the bedroom?

If you are above the first floor, do you have an emergency escape chair? At least a ladder?

Have you thrown out the throw rugs? Is there three foot of clearance if EMS had to get to you with a gurney?

Do you wear a personal alarm system?

Do you have a system which would call or text your emergency contact if you spoke with no one on the phone all day or if some other alert indicated that you might need help?

How would people get in the door? Have you given others a key which also unlocks the deadbolt?

Is your FEMA-recommended backpack ready? We should have this at any age to help us get through those critical first 72 hours. Being able to survive for a week without outside help is even better.

Be sure to include copies of your birth certificate and passport, Medicare and other insurance cards, Social Security card and driver’s license, a list of bank and brokerage accounts and your physician, pharmacy and personal emergency contacts in hard copy as well on a USB.

There’s no place like home. Home safe home.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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