Everybody likes to be independent and seniors are no exception- in spite of advancing age, poor health and safety hazards, they prefer to live alone. While it’s nice that they can take care of themselves, with every passing year, it becomes more difficult. Loneliness sets in, they go into isolation and what is worse, they are soft targets and easy prey for criminals.

These guidelines will go a long way in helping senior citizens to retain their independence and still stay safe at home.

Maintain a list of emergency contacts

The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough- when seniors are frightened or alarmed, these numbers come in handy. The list should be written down in big print and kept by the side of the phone so that they can call these numbers when required. Most importantly, the list should include:

  • 911
  • medical professionals
  • friends or family member to be contacted during emergencies

Prevent break-ins and thefts

This is a serious problem that constantly poses a threat to senior citizens who are living alone. It’s important to ensure that all doors and windows are locked at night and when nobody is at home. Installing a security system will help seniors or friends and family can keep a lookout for any suspicious activity. Install a peep-hole so that seniors know whom they’re opening the door to.

Prevent accidents

The older you get, the more prone you are to accidents and falls. Wear anti-slip footwear and don’t rush to do things. Using a walker or cane can prevent slips and make you feel steady. Have special alarms or alert systems installed on your person- either on your bracelet or necklace- so in case you can’t get to the phone, you can depress a button to activate the system. Also, think of installing handrails in the bathroom and grab bars near the toilet and shower to make it easier. Install rubber mats in the bathroom to avoid slipping.

Fire-related accidents

Though this one’s a no-brainer, it’s something that’s often neglected. Install smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors and change the battery once in six months. Ensure that too many electric cords don’t emanate from a single socket or extension cord. Check appliances for frayed or damaged electrical cords. Don’t leave burning candles unattended and ensure that heaters are away from combustible material. Never try to heat your home using the oven or grill as these tend to give off carbon monoxide.

Keep your home in good repair

Cracked tiles or slippery stairs are accident hazards- ensure that they are in good repair. Don’t place rugs at the bottom of the stairs and ensure that carpet and mats are firmly fixed to the floor. Keep walking pathways clear of all objects that might impede movement.


Ensure that medication is never mixed up and retain them in their original cartons or containers. Check labels before taking your pills and take your pill bottles with you when you see your physician or health professional. Beware of bathroom cleaners- don’t mix solutions or powders as they can produce deadly gases.

General tips

Isolation is always a big problem- so, make friends who can check up on you now and then. Lead a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water. Even if you do live alone, ensure that you live safely.