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Make Your Home Safer

A Room-by-Room Checklist

Chances are, the home you bought 20 years ago wasn't designed to meet your needs as you've aged. This checklist identifies things you can do to adapt your home to help prevent accidents and preserve your independence.


  • Have light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Make sure stairs are in good repair and have non-skid surfaces.
  • Make sure runner mats, carpeting, treads, or any other floor covering on your stairs is well fastened.
  • You should have handrails installed on both sides of the stairway.
  • Keep your stairs clear of clutter.
  • Always make sure stairways are well lit.


  • Make sure faucets are clearly marked hot and cold, and test the water temperature before getting into the bathtub.
  • Have a rubber mat or a non-slip surface in your bathtub or shower to make it less slippery.
  • There should be grab bars installed in proper places (by toilet and near bathtub) that are well-anchored to the wall.
  • Light switches should be installed close to the entrance, and a nightlight should be used in the bathroom and hallway.
  • If you have trouble standing up to take a shower, purchase a bath seat in order to sit down while you shower.
  • If you have trouble getting on and off the toilet seat, you could use a raised toilet seat or install a grab bar.
  • Wipe up moisture or spills immediately in the bathroom so you don't slip and fall.


  • Store your pots and pans, canned goods, and essential foods in an easy-to-reach location.
  • Keep light items in higher cupboards and heavy items in lower cupboards.
  • Use a step stool that is secured with a safety rail for reaching high places.
  • Wipe up anything you spill in the kitchen to prevent slipping.
  • Eliminate any throw rugs so you don't accidentally trip over them.


  • Have a light switch near the entrance to your bedroom and a lamp or light switch by your bed.
  • Make sure there is a clear path from your bed to the bathroom.
  • Keep a phone near your bed so you don't have to climb stairs during the night.
  • Install nightlights in the halls in case you have to get up in the middle of the night.

Other Rooms:

  • Keep a telephone in the basement.
  • Make sure your laundry room and workroom are well lit.
  • Keep heavy items on lower shelves and bottom cupboards.
  • If you are going to use a ladder, make sure it's in good repair.
  • Have a small bench in your front or back entrance to help you put on or take off your shoes.
  • Check to make sure lighting does not leave dim or shadowy areas in some parts of your home.