Creating a safe home

If you are getting older, or have a health condition that restricts your mobility, by making some simple changes in your home, you can:

  • make it safer for you to move around your home and do things on your own

  • remove any hazards that could cause you to trip, slip or fall

  • do things more independently - with the help of some specialist gadgets or equipment

  • create a space that is perfect for you and your needs.

Consider your home one room at a time

If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, you might not know where to start - and it might take some trial and error to get your home just as you need it.

Think about each room you have one at a time:

  • What do you do in that room, or what would you like to do?

  • Is it safe and comfortable for you?

  • What are the tasks you find difficult?

  • What’s stopping you from using that room as you would like to?

You may find it easier to make a list.

Our tips

There are lots of simple things you can do yourself to make your home safe, often with little or no cost. We’ve put together some handy tips for each room of your home to help you.

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Getting help to assess your home 

If you are unsure about the changes you need to make to your home, our team can help. They can advise you what equipment or adaptations may be suitable for your needs and organise an assessment.

For more information, please get in touch with our Contact Centre on 0161 234 5001

Equipment, Adaptations and Technology- Enabled Care

You can also take a look at our section on Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care. It:

  • provides more examples of equipment and information on where you can get them.

  • explains the difference between minor and major home adaptations, and how to get help to make these changes to your home.

  • Explains what Technology-Enabled Care is and how it may benefit you

Want more information?

Check out these websites:

Top tips for a comfortable home

Practical steps to make your home work for you from Age UK.

Household gadgets and equipment to make life easier

More examples of equipment you can use at home from the NHS.

Across the Home

Here are some general tips to make your home environment safer.

Lighting

  • Make sure you have good lighting throughout your home, particularly near steps, stairways and corridors.

  • Check all bulbs are working and consider replacing them with high wattage energy-saving replacements.

Floors

  • Check all corridors and walkways to make sure they are clear of obstructions.

  • Move furniture so you have a clear path through each room.

  • Keep floors clear of items, such as shoes, books and blankets.

  • Avoid using rugs and mats where possible. Alternatively use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing to secure them to the floor. You could also replace them with non-slip versions.

  • Try to organise your room so appliances are close to power sockets. Keep power cables tidy and out of the way with cable ties.

  • Avoid walking around the home with bare feet, tights, socks or loose-fitting slippers, particularly on lino as it can be slippery.

Pets

  • Pets are wonderful companions but they can get under your feet. Be aware of where they are when you are moving about.

  • Consider attaching a bell to your pet’s collar to alert you when they are nearby.

Technology and apps

Here’s some useful technology which could help you stay safe in your home:

My SOS Family

A smartphone app that allows you to alert emergency contacts if you are in distress by simply holding down the 'Home' button.

Technology Enabled Care

Worried about a fall? Consider a Technology Enabled Care device, such as a community alarm or falls detector. These devices can provide you with confidence and peace of mind knowing someone is always available to help you if you fall. For more information visit the Technology-Enabled Care page.

Outdoors & Garden

Here’s a list of things you can do to stay safe while you are outdoors to reduce the risk of slipping, tripping or falling.​

Going outdoors​

  • Be aware of the weather conditions and how they may affect your balance and grip when walking outside.​

  • Pay attention to the path where you are heading so you are aware of any uneven pavement or other potential trip hazards.​

  • If possible, have another person with you.​

  • Try to avoid going outside in the dark or low light conditions.​

In your garden​

  • Make sure your washing line is at a practical height and accessible to avoid unnecessary bending and stretching.​

  • Keep paths clear of leaves and overgrown plants.​

  • Always put garden tools, rakes and spades away.​

  • Move garden pots and ornaments away from the area where you walk to make sure you have enough space to move around outside.​

  • Moss and algae can make steps slippery when wet. There are products available to rinse off and remove algae.​

  • If you need to go outside and paths are icy, cover them in salt or sandy salt. Avoid going outside in icy conditions if possible.​

  • When using power tools or an electric mower, make sure they are fitted with a residual current device (RCD). This shuts off the power if an electrical fault develops or if you accidentally cut through the cable.​

  • Never use a ladder when you are alone, it’s far safer to have someone with you who can hold the ladder steady. If possible, have someone to climb the ladder for you.​

Entering the house​

  • If you have a high step to get in and out of your property, ask someone to fit an additional step and grab rail.​

  • Put down any loads you are carrying before you attempt the step.​

  • Get as close to the door as possible before you use the key, so you are not reaching.​

Equipment that may help​

There are lots of living aids that can help you move around outdoors, including a:​

  • mobility aid, such as a walking stick - this may help you with your balance while you are outdoors​

  • grab rail fitted next to your front or back door - this could assist you as you are stepping in and out​

  • security light - this will not only add to your protection, but it will provide you with light when there is reduced natural light​

  • Ramp - this could over your entrance steps to make it easier to enter your home if you have a wheelchair or walking aid.​

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.​

Hall & Stairs

Here’s a list things you can do to make your hall, stairs and landing safer and prevent slips, trips or falls:

Lighting

  • Always use the lights when you are moving around in these areas.

  • Consider installing a high wattage bulb, such as 100 watt, to provide extra light so you can see easier.

  • Install night lights in these areas so you can find your way to the main light switch. Night lights are low energy lights that plug into a main socket and emit a low level light. It is recommended that you use the dusk-to-dawn type that switches on automatically.

Stairs and steps

  • If you have trouble seeing the edge of the steps, ask someone to secure brightly coloured nonslip tape on the edge of each step.

  • Repair loose or uneven steps.

  • Where you have carpet on steps make sure that it is firmly attached to every step. If not, secure loose carpet edges with double sided tape or ask someone to remove it and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.

  • Remove any obstacles that could cause a trip hazard.

  • If you use a walking aid, keep one at the top and bottom of the stairs.

  • If you have stair rails make sure they are securely fitted and, if possible, they are fitted to both sides of the stairs.

Equipment that may help

There are lots of living aids that can help you move up and down the stairs, including a:

  • Grab rail, or extra banister - this may make it easier for you to manage walking up the stairs

  • stair lift - this is a chair that you sit in to take you up the stairs.

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.

Kitchen

Here’s a list things you can do to make your hall, stairs and landing safer and prevent slips, trips or falls:

Lighting

  • Always use the lights when you are moving around in these areas.

  • Consider installing a high wattage bulb, such as 100 watt, to provide extra light so you can see easier.

  • Install night lights in these areas so you can find your way to the main light switch. Night lights are low energy lights that plug into a main socket and emit a low level light. It is recommended that you use the dusk-to-dawn type that switches on automatically.

Stairs and steps

  • If you have trouble seeing the edge of the steps, ask someone to secure brightly coloured non slip tape on the edge of each step.

  • Repair loose or uneven steps.

  • Where you have carpet on steps make sure that it is firmly attached to every step. If not, secure loose carpet edges with double sided tape or ask someone to remove it and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.

  • Remove any obstacles that could cause a trip hazard.

  • If you use a walking aid, keep one at the top and bottom of the stairs.

  • If you have stair rails make sure they are securely fitted and, if possible, they are fitted to both sides of the stairs.

Equipment that may help

There are lots of living aids that can help you move up and down the stairs, including a:

  • Grab rail, or extra banister - this may make it easier for you to manage walking up the stairs

  • stair lift - this is a chair that you sit in to take you up the stairs.

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.

Bathrooms

Here’s a list of things you can do to make it easier when you are washing or using the toilet.

Before you wash

  • If you feel concerned about falling, you could make sure someone is in the house and on hand to help in an emergency. Otherwise give a friend or family member a call to let them know and ask them to raise the alarm if you do not call them back within a set period of time.

  • Make sure your shower head (if relevant) is at a height that is accessible without overreaching. If you live in a house with others, ask them to keep it at a set height that you can reach

  • Put a non-slip mat in the bath or shower on the area where you will be standing, and another one on the area where you will get out. Alternatively, use self-stick strips to secure the ones you have.

  • Check the temperature of the water before you step under the shower, or into the bath. Water should be at no more than 46 degrees Celsius (114 degrees Fahrenheit . You could install a thermostatic mixing valve to get the right temperature, or run the cold water and gradually move it to hot while you test it.

  • Put everything you need, such as soap or shampoo, within easy reach.

Getting out of the bath or shower

  • Dry yourself while in the bath or shower to prevent getting water on the floor and making it slippery.

  • Wipe up any water spills to remove the risk of slipping on them.

  • Don’t keep the bath mat on the floor. Move it once you’re out of the bath.

Using the toilet

  • Do not hold onto the sink or radiator when using the toilet. These will eventually detach themselves. Also, the radiator could burn you.

  • If you use a walking frame, and your bathroom is small, you may be better to leave it outside than risk tripping over it. You can always have grab rails fitted to hold onto.

Equipment that may help

There are a lot of living aids that can help you while you are in the bathroom, such as a:

  • grab rail fitted in the bath or shower - this would help you get in and out safely

  • wall seat - this can help you if you are unable to stand while showering

  • bath lift - this would help you lower yourself into the bath, or lift yourself out

  • emergency cord fitted by your bath or shower - this would help if there was an emergency, you could put this to alert someone you need help

  • toilet booster seat - this can help you if your toilet is too low for you to sit on comfortably or makes it difficult for you to stand up after use by making the sitting position higher

  • grab rail fitted next to your toilet - this would help you lower yourself and stand up

  • commode - this could help you if you do not have a toilet on each level in your home and find the stairs difficult. Remember you’ll need to empty it though.

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.

Bedrooms

Here’s a list of things you can do to stay safe while in your bedroom.​

​Wardrobes and drawers​

  • Think about reorganising your wardrobes and drawers so the clothes you wear most often are in the easiest places for you to access.​

  • If you have a summer and winter wardrobe, ask someone to move your clothes around so you don’t have to rummage at the back of the wardrobe for the things you need.​

  • Use your top bedside drawer to store the things you use on a daily or regular basis, such as your glasses, reading book or medication.

Electrical sockets and leads​

  • If you do not have a bedside light, consider having a light switch for the main light installed by your bed.​

  • Make sure you keep the lamp cord and any other leads tidy. Secure them back out the way with Velcro ties.​

  • If you find it difficult to reach electrical sockets, consider having them repositioned higher.​

Your bed​

  • Make sure your bed is at a height that is easy for you to get in and out of - not too high or too low.​

  • Use bed sheets and covers that are warm but lightweight so making the bed is easier.​

  • Make sure blankets do not trail on the floor. Tuck them out of the way when you first get into bed.​

  • If you use a walking aid, put it at your bedside so it is easy to reach when you want to get up. Also think about other things you need within easy reach, like your glasses.​

  • If you do not have a bedside light, keep a torch nearby so you can use it to get your bearings in the middle of the night. Remember to have some spare batteries in easy reach too.​

  • Keep your community alarm (if you wear one) on when you go to bed so you can find it easily in an emergency.​

  • If your bed is a considerable distance from a toilet consider a commode by your bed.​

Always:​

  • Buy a new blanket. Second-hand blankets may not be safe​

  • follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use​

  • have your blanket checked by an expert at least every 3 years (or as recommended by the manufacturer) to make sure it is still safe to use. You can ask the shop where you bought it about testing and servicing, or contact the trading standards department at your local council – they often have free testing days.​

  • check the care label before you wash the blanket. Most blankets are not designed to be washed.​

Before you use your electrical blanket, check for the following items and do not use it if there are any issues:​

  • creases or scorch marks​

  • an exposed element​

  • damp or wet areas​

  • signs of wear or damage on the plug and cord.​

While you are using the blanket make sure:​

  • it is not plugged into an adaptor or multi-socket block with another appliance plugged in​

  • that you keep the blanket spread out flat - never use it folded​

  • you do not use a hot water bottle at the same time as using the electric blanket​

  • that the wires are not trailing on the floor causing a trip hazard.​

When you have finished using the blanket make sure you:​

  • turn the power off at the wall​

  • unplug the blanket​

  • store the blanket carefully, and refer to the manufacturer's instructions for storage.​

Equipment that may help​

There are a lot of living aids that you can use in your bedroom, including:​

  • a long-handled appliance, such as an ‘easy reach’ - this can help you to turn low or high switches on​

  • bed rails - these would be attached to each side of your bed for you to hold onto when you get in and out​

  • a rope ladder - this can help you to pull yourself upright while you are in bed​

  • a bed raiser - this increases the height of a bed so it is easier to stand up when getting out of it​

  • a hoist - this is placed under your body and lifts you into and out of your bed.​

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.

Living Room

Here’s a list of things you can do to make your living rooms safer:

Furniture

  • Keep furniture to a minimum so that you have a clear space for walking around.

  • Consider getting a high chair with armrests. It might not be as comfortable as your preferred chair, but it’ll be much easier to get in and out of.

  • Stand using the arms of the chair for support - not your walking aid. Your walking aid is a height that is right for when you are walking so will be too high for you to use when you are sitting down.

  • Keep your walking aid in easily reach while you seated.

Electrical sockets and leads

  • Make sure you keep leads tidy, and do not allow them to trail on the floor. Secure them back out the way with velcro ties.

  • If you find it difficult to reach electrical sockets, consider having them repositioned higher.

Equipment that may help

There are lots of living aids that can help you use your living room, consider a:

  • long-handled appliance, such as an ‘easy reach’ - this can help you to turn low or high switches on

  • chair raiser - this raises up your chair so it is at a comfortable height to get in and out of a sitting position

  • chair table or tray - perfect if you prefer to eat from your lounge chair.

Find out more about Equipment, Adaptations and Technology-Enabled Care to make your life easier.

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