In this section, I will address tips for retirement home safety in the kitchen and living room areas. Above all, pay attention to your surroundings! There are many potential hazards in a home environment, and you need to be constantly aware of what they might be and how you can be safe.
1) Remove loose throw rugs in entry ways and halls.
2) Make sure living areas are free of clutter. If necessary, have someone move your furniture so you have clear access routes around your home.
3) Check for electrical or oxygen cords or tubes that may be a potential source of tripping.
4) Wipe up kitchen spills promptly.
5) Be careful if Fido or Kitty get underfoot, especially at feeding time when they like to gather around your feet, or while going up and down stairs.
6) Be careful of long gowns or loose, flowing garments that may entangle your feet.
7) Change lightbulbs in hallways to the brightest wattage practical.
8) Use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
9) Install railings in all stair cases.
10) Make sure existing stair railings are solid and in good repair.
11) Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you don’t have to walk around them or step over them. If necessary, have an electrician install more outlets.
12) Organize cabinets so you don’t have to stretch and reach overhead. Keep frequently used items at about waist high level in cabinets. If you must reach high shelves, never use a chair to stand on. Instead, use a steady stool with a hand bar.
13) Have a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs, and make sure to replace burned out or dim bulbs.
14) Place a flashlight and extra batteries within easy reach of your bed.
15) Examine floor coverings on stairs. Make sure they are firmly attached. Carpet on stairs can be replaced with non-slip rubber treads.
16) Paint a contrasting color or a strip of brightly colored tape on the front edge of all steps so you can see them better.
17) Make sure there are handrails on both sides of the stairs, and that they are as long as the stairs themselves.
18) Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure the steps are of equal height, and that they conform to current building codes.
19) Use non-skid floor wax, or none at all.
20) Choose chairs with arms and good back support.
21) Use an electric lift chair if you have trouble arising from a low couch or easy chair.
22) If you use an assistive device such as a cane or walker, make sure it is within easy reach of your chair or bed.
23) Use a cordless phone or a cell phone. Consider a device such as Lifeline that you can wear at all times, that will activate an emergency alarm system in case you do fall. You have all heard the horror stories of retirees who live alone that have fallen and broken a hip or something, and were forced to lie there for hours or days before someone could be alerted to their dilemma and come to help.