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Exterior Home Safety for Senior Citizens

June 13, 2012

As previously mentioned, June is our month to focus on Safety for your aging parents, the elderly clients you care for, or other senior citizens you know or care for. Last week we explored safety inside the home. Of course the list was long, but by no means exhaustive.


The main idea in this discussion is to get you thinking and looking for areas where you could improve the safety factor for the aging folks in your life. Today we’ll take a look at the exterior environment of the home. Sunday I’ll address tips to fix the common problems you may find. This is an ongoing process so please get in the habit of scanning the interior and exterior of you parent’s home (or your client’s home) every time you visit.


–  Standing at the street observe the front of the house. Are there any objects attached to the house which could fall and hit someone on the head or cause injury? Walk around the house and look at it from all sides for similar objects.

–  As you walked around the house did you notice any broken or cracked windows? Were there torn screens, loose window sashes, or shutters that needed attention?

–  Do the same walk around the house after dark. Are steps, entryways, and pathways illuminated so that an elderly person would be able to see easily?

– Are there tree branches or shrubs rubbing against the house or windows? When the wind blows is it possible for a branch to come too close to a window and cause breakage?

–  Are there stairs leading down to a driveway, garage, or front walkway?

–  If the home is located in an area where there are cold winters who shovels the snow or deals with the ice?

–  In winter are there icicles that hang over walkways or stairs that could create a threat of injury?

–  Is the area prone to flooding?

–  If there are large trees around the home when was the last time they were trimmed of any dead branches? Who does this work?

–  Who cleans the drains of leaves and how often?

–  Are there hoses lying around that could be tripped over?

–  Where are the yard and gardening tools kept? Who sharpens them?

–  Who mows the lawn and handles other yard work chores if there is a yard?

–  Is there a garage? Is the door electrically operated or manually? Is it easy to open and close?

–  Are there motion sensing lights strategically placed?

–  Where are the trash cans located? Are they easy to get to? Do they have properly fitting lids?

–  Is there a pool or other body of water on the property or a creek running through it?

– Do either of your parents (or your client) use a wheelchair or walker? Is there a ramp leading to at least one entrance of the home?

–  Does the home have a forlorn look of abandonment or disrepair?

– If your parent (or clients) have pets is there an accumulation of animal feces in the yard?


From these 20 questions you should be able to get an impression on the safety of the exterior home environment your parents (or clients) deal with on a daily basis.  Don’t stop here. Keep adding to the list if you have other ideas.

Do you have additional questions, possible solutions, or ideas on how to continue this process. Feel free to share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear from you.




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