We'll be brief here because we've already created a separate guide to bathroom safety for seniors.
The bathtub or shower is the most dangerous place in the bathroom when it comes to falls.11 Some falls also occur when sitting down on or getting up from the toilet.
Install a grab bar for the bath, shower, or toilet to give yourself extra stability when getting in and out of the tub or up and down from the toilet.
Line the bottom of the tub with a bathmat to reduce the chances of slipping and falling. Dry yourself off while standing in the tub so you don't splash too much water out onto the bathroom floor. Then step out onto a second non-slip bathmat. This one should be highly absorbant to further reduce the amount of moisture tracked around the bathroom floor.
If you take hot showers and don't have adequate ventilation, the steam can eventually settle on the floors and walls of your bathroom. These slick surfaces increase the risk of slipping, so consider installing a bathroom fan or taking slightly cooler showers.
Organize the medicine cabinet
Did you take your medicine today? (I'm a 30-something and even I can't remember if I did!) Use a day-of-the-week pill container to organize your prescriptions and supplements. You'll be able to tell at a glance if you forgot a dose.
You can also use technology to help you remember. Just ask Amazon Alexa to remind you to take your medicine at a certain time each day. Some medical alert devices—like those from LifeFone and MobileHelp—can remind you too, or staff can call you daily to keep you on track.
Go a step further and get a time-sensitive lock box if you're prescribed anything that's potentially fatal if taken in excess, such as opioids for pain management. These overdoses certainly aren't a "young person's problem." In fact, people aged 75+ were hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning, abuse or dependence at the highest rate in the nation compared to other age groups in 2018.15
Having these potentially addictive pills in your home also makes you an appealing target for burglary, which is another good reason to keep them under lock and key.
Upgrade to an accessible tub and shower
If you're having trouble stepping into or out of the bathtub, consider getting a transfer bench. You sit on the bench, swing your legs over the lip of the tub, and then scoot to the other side of the bench. From there, you can safely stand up or continue to sit while showering.
Or, you can upgrade the tub to a high-sided model with a built-in door. These often have built-in seats and water jets to help you scrub-a-dub in safety and style.
While fire-related deaths in older adults can be traced back to smoking,16 fire-related injuries among people 65+ are caused by kitchen fires.17 Plus, the kitchen is hazardous to people of all ages because of hot surfaces, sharp objects, heavy appliances, and potentially slick floors.
Here are some ways to ensure senior safety in the kitchen.
Install an automatic stove shut-off
Fires can also start simply because your loved one forgot to turn off the oven or stove. A product like FireAvert improves home fire safety by shutting off the stove/oven if the smoke detector goes off.
Review how to use a fire extinguisher
About 49% of all house fires start in the kitchen, based on research by the National Fire Protection Association.25 Stop a small fire before it becomes a huge blaze by keeping a fire extinguisher on hand.
Read about the best fire extinguishers in our buyer's guide so you can bring the best one home. Pay particular attention to the canister's weight when choosing an extinguisher for a senior citizen.
There's no need to put yourself at risk of a fall or wrenched muscle by standing on your tip-toes to try to grab a heavy can. Use a step-stool instead, but get one with a handle and a non-slip surface so you have extra stability when stepping on and off.
If you can afford a little renovation, consider these pull-down shelves that install inside your existing cabinets. You can also get pull-out shelves for lower cabinets to reduce the need to awkwardly bend and reach for supplies.
Because we've done it nearly every day for years without anything catastrophic happening, it's easy to take for granted that cooking can be pretty dangerous. It doesn't hurt to stay mindful and avoid distractions so you can cook safely.
- Roll up long sleeves and tie back long hair to avoid catching them on fire.
- Double-check that you've turned on the correct burner—any little crumbs in the catch pan will ignite if there's no pot or skillet to absorb the heat.
- Place a wooden spoon across the top of boiling water to prevent it from boiling over.
- Instead of draining a pot of boiling water by lifting it and pouring it into a strainer, use a stock pot with a strainer basket insert.
- Use a food processor if your coordination or eyesight makes it difficult to safely use a knife.
Place a Vial of Life on your fridge
Download a free Vial of Life form and place it on your fridge, where emergency responders know to look for it.