Home Safety - Policy Holder

Home Safety

Senior Citizens & Safety at Home

As the average life expectancy increases and social values change, a vast majority of our senior population is left without any financial or medical support. Coupled with the fact that older people develop impaired vision and have slower reaction time, they become more prone to accidents and mishaps. A mishap that may merely inconvenience a young person can put an aged person out of commission for a long time.


Here are some hints that could help our senior citizens to reduce the risk of personal injury.

According to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65. The likelihood of dying from a fall-related injury increases with age and deteriorating vision.


As one ages, physiological changes set in, which impair a number of sensory organs. Similar changes are also seen in the eye (smaller pupils, yellowing of the lens, cataract), which result in failing vision. Thus seniors need more light than young adults.

Soft overall lighting is essential for tasks like reading, sewing and taking medicines

Night-lamps in areas like bedrooms and bathrooms are essential to prevent falls

Head and foot of stairways require more light

Light switches should be placed at convenient points such as room entrances

Easy to clean and change fixtures should be used

Do not block electrical outlets with furniture

Avoid pictures or other eye-catchers near stairs

Falls in the bathroom:

Wet and slippery surfaces, several electrical fixtures and occasional glassware make a dangerous combination.

Use non-skid mats over the bathroom floor

Install grab-bars around the shower and for the toilet

Ensure that there is no sill or threshold between the bathroom and other rooms, to prevent tripping

Safety in the living room:

Avoid glass furniture and in case it is unavoidable, use shatter proof glass

Arrange furniture so as to provide open passages

Keep electrical and telephone cables out of the way

Furniture should be easily movable

Furniture should not block exits and doorways

Safety in the kitchen: 

The elderly are more at risk in the kitchen, as their skin tends to burn more easily and they may have difficulty in escaping if and when an injury occurs. Moreover, ordinary looking tasks like boiling water, heating food can cause extraordinary risks.

Keep all combustible items away from the stove, especially when it is lit

Use lightweight pots, pans and bowls

Do not use any overhead cabinets that are more than 12 inches deep or more than 72 inches high from the floor level

Avoid having storage spaces above stoves and refrigerators

Safety in the bedroom

Make sure a phone is next to your bed, within arm's reach

Keep emergency telephone numbers, hearing aids and spectacles (if necessary) handy as well

Never smoke in bed. Make sure that you are alert when you smoke

Do not smoke while under the influence of alcohol or if you are taking prescription drugs that can cause drowsiness

Never leave smoking materials unattended, and collect them in large, deep ashtrays

Check around furniture, especially upholstered furniture, for any discarded or smouldering smoking materials

Soak the ashes in the ashtray before discarding them

Contributed by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC)