University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FAR6002

Caregiving and Home Safety 1

Rebecca McGovney and Mary Harrison2

Figure 1. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

More elderly people are injured in the home than any other place. How do you make your home safe for family members with limited mobility? University of Florida Extension professionals have some suggestions. According to UF professor of Consumer Education Mary Harrison, homes need to be made safe whether the elderly person continues to live independently or moves in with a relative or caregiver. She explains most changes are easy to make and require little, if any, money. Here are some quick and simple examples.

Use stall type showers with non-skid strips on the floor instead of bathtubs, if possible. They are easier to get into and out of. Also, install handrails in the shower stall and near the commode to help balance. Be sure to check the temperature of the hot water heater to avoid accidental burnings with hot water.

Additionally, replace round doorknobs with lever handles for easier opening. Also, replace wall switches with lighted switches with broad, flat switch plates. Finally, since older people are more likely to stumble and fall, eliminate sharp edges and corners of furniture as much as possible.

Homeowners can make most of these changes, but some may require professional help. Check the reputation and license of any home repairman before signing a contract. Check with your county/city government to see if he or she has a local license, and never pay for the work until it is satisfactorily completed.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:



This document is FAR6002, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 41. Original publication date November 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Rebecca McGovney, master's student, and Mary Harrison, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.