You can make a number of minor changes to your father's home to help protect him from falls and fires, both of which cause thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Remove tripping hazards.
Because falls are the leading cause of home injury among seniors, a good place to start is by packing away your father's throw rugs, which are common tripping hazards, or securing them with carpet tacks or double-sided tape. You may also need to rearrange your father's furniture to create clear pathways and position any electrical or phone cords along walls and out of the way.
Consider attaching a nonslip tread to each hardwood step to provide traction and help him see the edge. Buy some nonskid rugs for the floors and use adhesive nonslip treads or a mat with rubber suction inside his tub or shower stall for added protection.
Check the wattage ratings on your dad's lamps and light fixtures, install the brightest bulbs allowed, and add supplemental lighting if necessary.
You should also buy dusk to dawn nightlights for the bathroom and hallways that turn on when the sun goes down. Install motion sensor lights outside the front and back doors, as well as in the driveway, that turn on automatically when he comes and goes after dark.
Purchase grab bars
These can significantly reduce his chances of falling in the bathroom. Install them where he enters the shower or tub, as well as on a wall inside the stall, but don't use suction-mounted grab bars. Instead, have someone install wall-mounted bars that can be attached to the wall studs. It's also a good idea to choose bars with slightly textured surfaces that are easier to grip.
Check that the railings are stable.
He requires sturdy railings wherever he has steps — stairways, entryways, or basements. They should ideally be on both sides of the steps.
Avoid cooking fires
BurnerAlert discs, which attach to a stove's knob and continuously blink or beep after the stove has been in use for a preset amount of time, and Ome smart knobs, which can control a stove's heating settings from an app, are two inexpensive products you can buy to help your dad prevent home cooking fires. Alternatively, you can purchase a more expensive iGuardStove sensor, which turns off the stove after five minutes of inactivity.
Install smoke detectors
Install a smart smoke alarm (one for each floor) in your father's home to notify him if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. These smart devices will also send alerts to your phone when a problem is detected. Google Nest and First Alert both sell smart carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Include fire extinguishers
Purchase portable multipurpose fire extinguishers for each level of your father's home as well as the garage.
Consider a medical alert system
Consider getting your father a medical alert device with a wearable SOS button that will allow him to call for help if he falls or requires assistance to ensure his safety and give you some peace of mind.