What is a Home Safety Evaluation?

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As adults age and their abilities change, their home may no longer be as safe as it once was. Depending on their physical and mental changes, their home could be full of dangerous situations, such as areas that increase their risk for falling. It may not be safe for them to cook unsupervised due to changes in memory. They may be at risk of becoming stuck on the toilet or chair, unable to get up unassisted. Occupational or physical therapists are trained to look for these unsafe situations and can offer personalized recommendations for making a senior’s home safe again.

When an occupational or physical therapist conducts a home safety evaluation, they are looking for potential dangers, considering the specific needs and limitations of the senior who lives there. They inspect the physical environment, but they also look at how the individual interacts within it.

Looking for Safety Concerns
Some potential safety hazards might include:

  • Inability to use stove safely
  • Spoiled food in the refrigerator
  • Chairs, toilet or bed that is too low for the senior to rise from independently
  • Bath mats or throw rugs that create a tripping hazard
  • Dim lighting
  • Slippery floors
  • Medication stored unsafely
  • Lack of grab bars or shower seating
  • Thresholds creating tripping hazards
  • Unsafe stairs
  • Cluttered, crowded walkways

Considering the Specific Situation

After the home safety evaluation is completed, the therapist identifies any concerns and offers personalized recommendations based on the senior’s specific situation. They take into account any limitations facing the senior, including:

  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Mental health, depression
  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Ability to walk / balance
  • Chronic or acute medical conditions
  • Medication challenges
  • Financial limitations
  • Low social support
  • Transportation challenges
  • Personalized Recommendations

Based on their findings, they may recommend removing throw rugs, adding grab bars or toilet risers, or changing where medication is stored. Replacing furniture, cleaning up clutter, or adding threshold ramps are other simple measures that can make a big difference in home safety. Some of the concerns, however, may not be able to be addressed with a simple purchase or item removal.

Home Care can Increase Home Safety

A common recommendation for seniors in an unsafe situation is to add in home care support at key times throughout the day or week. Home care agencies provide trained staff to assist seniors in their homes in these situations. They offer a wide array of services, which are customizable based on each senior’s specific needs. This goes a long way toward enabling seniors to age in place safely and successfully. Because home care services are customizable to each situation, they look different from case to case, however some common recommendations for home care support include:

  • Light housework
  • Clearing up clutter
  • Ensuring clean, dry floors in bathrooms or other areas
  • Changing bed linens or doing laundry
  • Cleaning out the refrigerator regularly
  • Shopping support
  • Meal preparation or meal reminders / encouragement
  • Assistance with bathing, toileting or dressing
  • Assistance with walking or mobility
  • Transportation support

How to Arrange for a Home Safety Evaluation

Home safety evaluations are ordered by a doctor. They are commonly ordered before discharging a patient home from a hospital stay. If you have concerns about the home safety of a senior in your life, talk to their doctor about a home safety evaluation. In many cases, Medicare or medical insurance will cover most or all of the costs of this service.


If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Sterling, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.