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Risks for Seniors in Their Homes

CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre

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Download the brochure on the Risks for Seniors in Their Homes

In Canada, 50% of falls, which are the leading cause of injury among seniors, occur inside the person's home.  In addition, falls are directly responsible for 95% of hip fractures and 20% of those injured by a fall die within a year. Individuals who have issues with balance, vision or memory loss are also at risk for burning themselves or starting accidental fires.

In order for seniors to keep their independence, they must have a safe home environment that takes into account their individual needs. In order to stay in their homes as long as possible, they need to understand their health and medical conditions and make the necessary adjustments to their living environment.


Situations that can put you at risk in your home

  • Hand rails for stairs in poor repair.
  • Steps that are cluttered or covered with snow or ice in the winter.
  • Obstructed hallways.
  • Carpets that slip or are wrinkled.
  • Lack of bars and rubber bath mat in the tub or shower.
  • Extension cords that can cause you to trip.
  • Animals that get in the way.
  • Expired food or medications.
  • Pots left on lit burners on the stove.
  • Accumulation of flammable materials: newspapers near baseboard heaters, etc.
  • Absence of smoke detectors with functional batteries.
  • Someone who smokes near oxygen.
  • Improperly stored dangerous household products: bleach, ammonia, etc.
  • Poor lighting both inside the house and outside: in the hallways, on the balcony, etc.
  • Admitting a stranger into your home without verifying his or her identification.


Simple actions to reduce the risks in your home environment

  • Make sure handrails are in good repair and cover steps with a slip-resistant surface.  Always hold the handrail on your staircase when going up and down.
  • Keep stairs and passageways clear of clutter.
  • Make sure outdoor walkways and steps are cleared of snow and ice in the winter. 
  • Ensure that the entrance to your house is well lit and that the number is visible from the street.
  • Clearly identify visitors before allowing them into your house.
  • Do not leave objects or cords lying on the floor.
  • Remove small carpets.
  • Do not leave anything without supervision on top or inside your stove.
  • Check the labels of foods to be sure they are properly stored.
  • Regularly check the expiry dates of your food. Throw away food that has an expired date.
  • Do not keep cleaning products near food.
  • Bring outdated medication back to the pharmacy.
  • Keep chemical and corrosive products far from heat sources.
  • Never use a lit candle to light another one nor leave a lit candle unattended.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets.
  • Avoid placing anything near or up against electric baseboards.
  • Check your chimney every year and change the batteries in your smoke alarms every six months.
  • Wear shoes or slippers with non-slip soles that support your feet properly.
  • Keep a telephone at hand in various rooms and an accessible list of emergency numbers.
  • If you are a smoker, or if you live with someone who smokes, make sure to always extinguish cigarette butts properly. Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep a light on at night.
  • Have grab bars installed in the bathroom. Use a non-slip bath mat in the tub and shower.
  • Have your home adapted so that it becomes a safe environment in line with your level of functioning.

If you are worried about the risks in your home environment, you can contact your local community health and social services.  Home care service providers are partners with you in ensuring your safety. Part of their role is to observe your home environment and make recommendations to make your home safer for you and your visitors. If necessary, they will also suggest different aids you can procure, such as bars or other safety measures for the bathroom. They can also refer you to different resources to help with cleaning, making repairs or for renovations to your home when required for physical disabilities. 

Home care service providers will also inform you of certain measures you must put in place to ensure their safety such as isolating your pets during their visits. 


Don’t know the services in your area?

Health and social services in Québec
Establishments offering services to Autochtones and northern populations
Non-profit organisations
Health and social services in Canada
  • Government of Canada
  • Alberta
  • Colombie-Britannique
  • Manitoba
  • Nouveau-Brunswick
  • Terre-Neuve
  • Territoires du Nord-Ouest
  • Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Île-du-Prince-Édouard
  • Saskatchewan
  • Territoires du Yukon


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