Common Household Hazards for Seniors

hazardsSafety risks and how to avoid household hazards for seniors

Our home is often where we feel the safest. It’s our comfort zone and we spend most of our time there. Yet household hazards for seniors can make their home one of the most dangerous places; especially if they live alone. Why? Because the average home features a number of potential hazards that become incrementally more hazardous as we age.

In the United States, injury ranks 6th as a cause of death in those aged 65 years and older. Falling down accounts for one- to two-thirds of all accidental injury deaths. Studies have found that around one in three of seniors fall at least once each year. Those who have fallen once are more likely to fall again. Household hazards for seniors contribute to these falls.

Seniors may not recognize certain “hidden” hazards in their home. They live with them every day. The old floor rug, the step stool and the electrical cord can all be tripped over. These household hazards for seniors exist and need to be recognized. If a senior lives alone, the health risk increases. An injured senior may not be able to reach a phone or call out for help.

The following are a number of common household hazards for seniors:

       Hazards throughout the House

  • Poor lighting (too dim)
  • Lighting too bright
  • Light switches hard to reach/find
  • No night lights
  • Carpets/floor coverings torn or in poor condition
  • Rugs that slip
  • Slippery floors (tiled, polished wood, wet, etc.)
  • Furniture or clutter obstructing walkways
  • Cupboards/shelves too high or low
  • Faucet taps hard to reach or to turn on/off
  • Unstable chairs or tables
  • Chairs without armrests or with low backs
  • Extension cords across walkways
  • Unsafe electrical appliances
  • Overloaded electrical outlets

       Kitchen Hazards

  • Dials on the stove difficult to see
  • Towels left near hot stove
  • Stove accidentally left on after cooking
  • Plugged in electrical cords near sink

      Bathroom Hazards

  • Bathtub/shower slippery and without grab rails
  • Soap, shampoo, etc, not easily accessible
  • Glass doors not made with safety glass
  • Medicine cabinet poorly lit
  • Toilet without grab rails
  • Toilet seat too low

       Hazards with Stairs

  • Too steep
  • Too long
  • In need of repair
  • Edges hard to see
  • Handrails unstable, not secured, or not present
  • Inadequate lighting

Take a look around your aging loved one’s home. Identify potential hazards and help keep them safe. You can help. Remove all of the common hazards. Clear clutter, especially in the walkways. Ensure proper lighting exists throughout the house. Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

If you’re frequently finding dangerous situations in the home of your senior family member, it may be time to consider a move to an independent living, assisted living, or continuing care community to remove household hazards for seniors altogether.

For help finding senior housing in your area, call (888) WE-ASSIST for personalized help. With one phone call, our senior specialists can provide you with the options that best meet your needs. You can also search the nationwide database of senior housing and services at


writer: Ryan Allen