How to senior proof a home?

Discover practical ways to senior-proof a home to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment for a senior.

3 min read

Seniors often struggle with mobility and vision, and this can make daily activities difficult to perform. If you have a senior who is struggling with everyday living, there are certain improvements you can make to your home to make it safe and comfortable for seniors to live in.

Start by rearranging furniture and removing unused décor items to create spacious pathways. Ensure that commonly used items like light switches, power outlets, and car keys are easily accessible. The walkways, stairs, entrances, and commonly used rooms should be well-lit so that it is easy to move around. Provide traction to your floors by adding non-slip pads to your carpets or rugs as well as non-slip mats to your bathroom.

Below are some tips to senior-proof a home to prevent falls:

Remove tripping hazards

Seniors are at a higher risk of falls, so it is important to eliminate any potential tripping hazards. If you have loose rugs around the house, put non-slip rug pads to secure them or remove them altogether if they are not needed anymore.

If there are cords from electronic devices like laptops and lamps, you should keep them away from walkways to ensure they do not obstruct the path and become tripping hazards; keep them tucked away behind furniture or along the walls where there are no pathways.

Add floor traction

Slippery floors in some areas of the house like the kitchen and bathroom are a common cause of falls. You should provide floor traction to these areas or replace the slippery surfaces with slip-resistant flooring like non-slip tiles or textured vinyl to provide added safety to seniors.

You can also add non-slip mats to the bathtub to provide traction even when the surfaces are wet. Hardwood flooring can also become slippery when wet, and you should consider covering the floor with anchored carpet to make the surface softer and give your senior more traction when walking around the house.

Create more space to move around

Open the walking spaces by rearranging furniture in a way that there is plenty of open space to move around. Remove any unused furniture such as tables, chairs, and decorative items. Also, commonly used areas should be easily accessible; remove tripping hazards along the pathways to the food pantries, hanging cabinets, charging outlets, wardrobes, dining area, etc. If your senior is using mobility aids like a wheelchair or walker, consider widening the doorways and hallways to improve accessibility.

Ample lighting

Ensure there is ample lighting in every room of the house to make it safe to walk around. If your senior has vision problems, make the walkways and rooms brighter by replacing existing lights with higher-wattage bulbs.

You can add night-time bulbs in the kitchens and bathrooms so that they can have a clear view when they get up at night. You can also opt for motion-sensor lights in the hallways; these lights automatically light up when movement is detected, hence providing added safety at night.

Secure the stairs

Stairs pose a significant risk of falls for the elderly, especially if they have mobility or balance problems. The first step to make the stairs safe is to install a set of handrails on both sides of the stairs to provide additional stability when going up or down. The railings should be securely anchored to the walls to provide added support.

If your loved one has vision problems, you can add contrasting tape to the edges of the stairs to make it easy to spot each step. You can also add non-slip adhesive strips to the stairs to add more traction.

Safeguard the bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most dangerous parts of the house for the elderly due to its wet surfaces and small space. Ideally, you should install a walk-in shower that eliminates the need to step on a raised surface, making it easier to enter and leave the bathroom. Also, add grab bars to the toilet and shower area to provide extra assistance when getting up or out of these areas.

Add a bench inside the shower to provide a comfortable resting place if your senior has trouble standing for extended periods. Place a non-slip mat next to the shower to reduce the risk of slipping on the wet floor. It can also help to add a first aid kit in your bathroom to help you attend to bathroom accidents immediately.

Useful fittings

Adding some fittings to your house can help make life more comfortable for your senior, and simplify everyday tasks. Here are some useful fittings to consider:

Door handles

If you have installed doorknobs on your doors, you should consider replacing them with levers, which are easier to handle. Door levers have better grips than doorknobs, and are easier to open, especially for seniors with stiff hands.


Installing intercoms can make it easy for seniors to call for help in case of emergencies. You should install an intercom device in every room of the house that is frequently used by your loved one so that they can quickly reach out for assistance. Also, if your senior can operate a phone, you can place phones across the accessible locations of the house so that they can stay connected to other family members or call for help when needed. 

Ramps and stairlift

If your senior uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can eliminate the need to step onto stairs to enter the house. If the home is multi-storeyed, you can install a stairlift on the stair rails so that your senior can easily access different floors of the house without having to struggle with the stairs.

Handheld shower

Handheld showerheads provide more convenience to seniors, and they are easier to use than fixed showerheads. Handheld showerheads allow users to direct water to places where it is needed the most. Plus, seniors who are unable to stand for a long time can use the handheld showerhead to bathe while seated on a bench.


Senior-proofing your home can help make the home safer and comfortable for your loved one, and minimize the risk of falls. You should identify the areas of the house that pose a risk of falls and figure out how to make them safer. Removing clutter, adding non-slip mats, proper lighting, installing rails to the toilet/shower, and adding useful fittings are some of the things you can do to make the house safer for your senior.