A home safety evaluation for seniors is a process to assess the potential hazards in a home. Because seniors have different needs and health challenges, it is important that their home environment is a safe space. The purpose of this assessment is to identify which areas need to be improved so that seniors can navigate their living spaces more confidently.
If you want to understand more about home safety evaluations and what you can do to improve your living environment, read below.
- Importance of a Home Safety Evaluation
- Home Safety Recommendations
Importance of a Home Safety Evaluation
Older adults are at a higher risk for falls and accidents at home. Without fall prevention methods and a safe home environment, a simple slip can end up being a debilitating injury.
In many cases, falls are caused by hazards at home that have been overlooked. This can be prevented by making changes and home modifications. The first step is to identify where the hazards are so they can be improved. Home safety evaluation professionals will be able to spot the problem areas through a home safety assessment and make recommendations on the best ways to fix them.
What is Included in a Home Safety Evaluation?
When a home safety evaluation is performed, a skilled home care professional will thoroughly assess the living space. Some of the things that will be checked include the structure of the home, entry and exit areas, emergency tools, fire hazards, electrical safety, and fall risks. After problem areas have been identified, the evaluator will provide feedback to help you understand the next steps needed to improve the trouble areas. The assessment usually takes 60 – 90 minutes.
Who Can Order a Home Safety Evaluation?
Safety assessments can be ordered by a physician or your medical provider. Doctors can request a home safety evaluation after a recent hospitalization to ensure that it is safe for you to return to your home. You may also be eligible for a home safety assessment if you are receiving home health care services.
Who Performs a Home Safety Evaluation?
Safety assessments are typically done by licensed physical and occupational therapists and/or medical social workers. You can also hire a qualified consultant who can assess safety and security risks. Many physical therapy clinics also offer home safety assessment services to their clients for a fee. The homeowner or a family member should be present during the inspection so they can be informed of any home modifications needed.
Who Pays for a Home Safety Evaluation?
Home safety assessment fees typically cost around $199 – $399, depending on the location and size of the home. Home safety evaluations paid for by Medicare are possible if you have Medicare Part B. If you are having trouble getting Medicare to cover the assessment, you can seek help from agencies like the National Council on Aging, which may provide free home safety evaluations.
When Is It Appropriate To Ask For a Home Safety Assessment?
It is recommended to request a home safety assessment if you have an older loved one living at home or in a care facility who has had a recent hospitalization. If you are an older adult who is living alone and want to take precautionary steps to improve your safety, it is also advisable to ask for a home safety evaluation.
Home Safety Recommendations
After an assessment of home safety, the assessor provides recommendations for improvement. Below are some of the usual recommendations you can expect after your home assessment.
Some of the most common recommendations for home improvements include:
- repairing loose floorboards
- installing smoke detectors
- installing fire extinguishers
- making electrical wiring safer
- making spaces more wheelchair-friendly
- getting rid of fall hazards (loose carpets, rugs, clutter, extension cords)
- adding handrails and other non-slip safety tools
- knowledge and plan for emergency response
A home safety assessment may reveal that a loved one could benefit from home health. Home health is medical care that is provided in a client’s home. Home health providers may be licensed physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists, medical social workers, and nurses. If home health services are recommended, these professionals will develop a short-term plan of care with the goal of seeing improvement in your loved one.
If There Is Equipment I Need To Install, Who Can Help With That?
Hopefully, the company providing the home safety evaluation will already have a list of contractors and professionals they can refer to make home modifications. They may be affiliated with the home care agency and can also provide discounts for their clients. If you want to hire your own contractor, you may also do so. Make sure you hire professionals who are licensed and bonded to do the work.
Where Can I Purchase Durable Medical Equipment?
Durable medical equipment (or DME) may be covered by Medicare Part B when necessary. It is also required that your doctor and suppliers are enrolled as Medicare providers. When these requirements are met, Medicare may pay for certain durable medical equipment. Depending on what type of equipment is recommended, you may have the choice to rent or buy it.
Alternatively, you can also purchase durable medical equipment on your own. If you are looking for affordable DME online, here are some suppliers to check out.
- Health Warehouse
- Affordable MedMart
- Discount Medical Supplies
Having a safe and comfortable living space becomes more important as a person ages. A home safety evaluation will identify problem areas and will make recommendations for the necessary improvements. By taking these precautionary steps, you can decrease the risk of falls and accidents and provide a safer space for your loved one.
Home Safety Evaluation Frequently Asked Questions
A home safety evaluation is performed by physical or occupational therapists to assess the safety of the home an older adult is living in. The assessor evaluates the structure of the home, fire hazards, and the layout with the purpose of making recommendations for a safe living space.
An evaluation will be able to thoroughly assess which areas of the home need improvement. Getting rid of environmental hazards is an important preventative measure against falls and accidents. A skilled professional may also make recommendations for durable medical equipment to improve safety in the home.
Some of the changes you can make to improve the safety of your home include installing grab rails, cleaning clutter, and making the space more accessible for wheelchairs. Safeguarding the home from fire hazards and other dangerous hazards is also necessary.
Falls are one of the leading causes of accidents in the home for seniors. Because older adults have more fragile bones and muscles, simple slips and falls can lead to hospital visits and major complications. This can be avoided with proper fall prevention methods, which include safe-proofing the home from fall hazards.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.