Getting the Home Ready for Home Care

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Getting the Home Ready for Home Care

Questions to Ask Home Care Agencies

Since most homes are not designed to accommodate the needs of people over age 65, home modifications are usually necessary to make it possible for seniors to stay in their homes. As part of your initial home care assessment, your home care agency or nurse should provide you with an inventory of suggested home modifications to help avoid accidents and to create a space for home care to be possible.

Here is a home modification checklist to get you started:

Questions to Ask Home Care AgenciesKitchen

  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen
  • Check that cabinet doorknobs are easy to use
  • Ensure stove controls are clearly marked and easy to use
  • Ensure faucets are easy to use
  • Ensure all small appliances and utensils are convenient and safely located
  • Ensure the oven and refrigerator can be opened easily


  • Install light switches at the top and bottom of each staircase
  • Install handrails on both sides of the steps OR install a chair rail along one wall


  • Install a smoke detector in the hallway outside of the bedrooms
  • Place a telephone next to the bed
  • Ensure doors can be unlocked from the outside
  • Ensure the closet shelves can be accessed easily


  • Place a nonskid bath mat on the floor
  • Place a nonskid bath mat in the tub
  • Use paper cups to avoid the spread of germs
  • Mount grab bars by the toilet, bath tub and shower
  • Ensure doors can be unlocked from the outside
  • Check that cabinet doorknobs are easy to use
  • Ensure faucets are easy to use


  • Secure or remove area rugs to prevent falls
  • Make sure furniture is secured and placed strategically to avoid mishaps
  • Store all cleaning supplies in their original containers
  • Store all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in their original containers
  • Set water heaters to no higher than 120° F to avoid scalding
  • Post emergency numbers next to each telephone
  • Remove matches and lighters
  • Ensure all doors and windows are easy to close and lock/unlock
  • Install a peep hole in the main door
  • Improve accessibility for wheelchairs, including: widening doorways, clearing space all around the home for wheelchair access, lowering countertops in bathrooms and kitchens, installing grab bars, lowering the height of light switches


  • Repair cracks in cement sidewalks and stairs
  • Keep walkways clear of snow and debris
  • Secure all railings and fences

Assistive Equipment Options:

  • Bathroom grab bars
  • Shower seats
  • Roll-in shower
  • Bathtub mats
  • Features for the bed to make it easier to get in and out
  • Entry ramps
  • Stair lift
  • Handrails
  • Pull-down kitchen shelves
  • Movable cabinets under sink
  • Alarm system
  • Night lights
  • Walkers and canes
  • Wheelchairs
  • Assistive telephones for hearing and sight impaired
  • Stovetop burners for the sight impaired
  • Doorbell signalers for the hearing impaired