A home safety evaluation is a thorough assessment of the inside and outside of the home. The purpose is to identify potential hazards and health and safety issues. You should consider scheduling a home safety evaluation of your home if you plan on acting as a caregiver to an elderly loved one.
You can also schedule a home safety evaluation for an elderly loved one who is living alone, or as part of the process of hiring an in-home caregiver. At Placita In Home Care, we offer free home safety evaluations, whether or not you decide to use our senior care services. Call us today to learn more about the process or to schedule a safety assessment.
What Is a Home Safety Evaluation?
During a home safety evaluation, an expert will walk throughout the entire home, including the home’s exterior. They will work through a checklist and identify any hazards that affect the safety of anyone living in the home. They will then provide an official report, and make professional recommendations for eliminating health and safety hazards.
These recommendations may include installing safety bars and railings, making repairs and renovations, adding ramps, fixing damaged flooring, and installing assistive devices. This increases the safety of the home and ensures it is appropriate for habitation by an elderly loved one and/or an in-home caregiver.
Who Can Order a Home Safety Evaluation?
A home safety assessment can be ordered or recommended by a medical provider, insurance company, or physician. A doctor may request a home safety evaluation after a recent surgery or hospitalization to ensure it’s safe for the patient to return home. You can order a home safety evaluation for an elderly loved one who is going to start receiving in-home care services.
Who Performs a Home Safety Evaluation?
A home safety assessment is performed by a licensed physical or occupational therapist, social worker, or a medical expert. In some cases, the service is performed by qualified consultants who have years of experience assessing safety and security risks in homes. Some physical therapy clinics and elder care agencies offer home safety evaluations for a fee.
At Placita In Home Care, we offer free home safety evaluations to seniors throughout Pima and Maricopa Counties – even if you don’t decide to use our in-home care services. During this service, we use a thorough, detailed safety checklist. We recommend that the homeowner and/or a relative be present during the evaluation.
Who Should Consider a Home Safety Evaluation, and When?
You should consider requesting a home safety evaluation for a loved one who has balance or mobility issues, has fallen or is in danger of falling, or is recovering from an accident, illness, or surgery that is affecting their mobility or cognition.
Home safety evaluations can be very useful in improving the safety and security of the home for someone who is experiencing changes to their memory, attention span, vision, hearing, decision-making abilities, and sense of taste and smell.
You should schedule the evaluation before your loved one returns to the home, if possible. If your loved one is already living in the home, you should schedule the evaluation as soon as you notice any risk factors for injuries, accidents, or falls in the home.
The Steps We Take to Complete a Home Safety Evaluation
We use a thorough checklist recommended by the CDC in order to evaluate the safety of the home, identify hazards, and determine the best method of repair. Our checklist goes room by room and includes:
- Stairs and Steps – We will look for objects on the stairs, loose or uneven steps, poor or broken lighting, worn or damaged carpeting, and loose or broken railings.
- Floors – We will look for pathways that are blocked by furniture or obstacles, throw rugs or area rugs that are damaged or slipping, cluttered walkways, wires, extension cords, cables, and other obstacles.
- Kitchen – We will look for items that are on high shelves and hard to reach, lighting issues, damaged or unsafe footstools, faulty wiring or appliances, and signs of rodent activity.
- Bedrooms – We will check for poor lighting, obstacles in pathways, damaged windows and doors, and damaged or uneven flooring.
- Bathrooms – We will look for dangerous or slippery tiles, damaged flooring, and accessibility and safety issues with the toilet, bathtub, and shower.
What Happens After a Home Safety Evaluation?
After a home safety assessment, we will provide professional recommendations for improving the home. We will go over the results and our findings in detail, and can provide you with a copy of our report. You can expect suggestions like this after we complete our assessment:
- Repairing uneven flooring, damaged rugs or carpeting, and loose floorboards
- Installing smoke and fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
- Buying fire extinguishers
- Improving electrical systems, appliances, and wiring
- Improving accessibility of spaces by installing wheelchair ramps, railings, or stair lifts
- Removing all fall hazards, such as wires, cables, clutter, extension cords, and more
- Adding handrails and safety bars where needed
- Creating a plan for emergency response
- Installing better lighting
- Installing lighting controls like motion sensor lights, room occupancy sensors, and security lighting
- Installing a security system and safer door locks
- Putting medication, toxic substances, and chemicals out of reach and/or installing child locks
We can also refer you to a reputable local handyman service for repairs and installations.
How a Home Safety Evaluation Prevents Injuries
A thorough home safety assessment will identify hazards and tell you how to eliminate them. Following these recommendations will reduce the risk of a fall, injury, or accident. It can also ensure your loved one can navigate the environment safely and increase their confidence. If your loved one needs Alzheimer’s care or memory care, the evaluator may suggest that you install locks or alarms that reduce the risk of your loved one wandering away from home and getting lost or injured.
For elderly people who are hard of hearing or who have vision problems, a home safety evaluation can help you make the home easier to navigate and give you tips for improving lighting and eliminating obstacles. If your loved one is recovering from an injury, surgery, or illness, a home safety evaluation will identify ways to make the home more accessible for a wheelchair, walker, crutches, or other assistive mobility devices.
Can You Complete Your Own Home Safety Evaluation?
If a physician or social worker has ordered a home safety evaluation, it must be completed by a professional. If you are considering a home safety evaluation because you plan on hiring an in-home caregiver for your loved one, or because you are going to act as their caregiver, you can complete the assessment yourself.
We recommend that you download a safety checklist online to use as a guide. However, keep in mind that we offer this service free of charge and are happy to send one of our professionals to your home to conduct a thorough assessment.
Areas to Prioritize During a Home Safety Evaluation
The main areas to prioritize during a home safety evaluation are:
- Stairs and steps
You will want to look for uneven or dangerous walkways, poor lighting, non-secured doors and windows, clutter and trip hazards, furniture that can tip over, ladders and footstools that are unstable, exposed cables or wires, and animals that could pose a health or safety hazard.
Seniors and Falls – Managing the Risk at Home in Southern Arizona
If your elderly loved one is at risk of a fall or is recovering from an accident, illness, or surgery, our team at Placita In Home Care can help. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about our home safety evaluations and to make an appointment. After completing our assessment, we will give you customized recommendations for improvements.
We can refer you to a local contractor or handyman for repairs, installations, and other services. To schedule a home safety evaluation in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.