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Older Americans Month: A Safe Home is a Happy Home

Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.: Fri, May 23rd 2014

What's the difference between a house and a home? When you think about the different places you've lived throughout life, did some feel more like a "home" than others? What made the difference?

happy senior couple sitting on porchWhile it may be different things for different people, the common denominator for all of us is that when we feel like somewhere is "home," we want to stay there. We feel comfortable, secure, and happy when we are there. Can you relate?

This is how older people feel about their homes as well - perhaps even more strongly because for many elders, they have lived in the same home for several years. The thought of having to leave that home is terrifying.

And yet, many older adults do eventually move to another residence or long-term care facility because of an accident in the home. Perhaps a fire, a fall, or injury caused by something in the home such as a sharp tool or kitchen item.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, people over 65 are one of the groups at highest risk of dying in a fire, and people over age 85 die in fires at a rate five times greater than the general population. And according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, older adults have higher rates of consumer-product related injuries and deaths than other age groups.

Having to move out of one's home due to an accident or fire is extremely traumatic for anyone, and especially difficult for older adults. It's crucial to keep the home safe by making periodic checks and adjustments. Here are some resources to help evaluate an older person's home, including one specifically for people with dementia:

During Older Americans Month, take the time to download these resources and help an older loved one make sure his or her home is as safe as it can be. After all, a safe home is a happy home.


Administration for Community Living. (2014). Activity Guide for Older Americans Month 2014.


Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.

Itís a true blessing to have you visit my blog on mental health and wellness. I also write blogs on faith and caregiving in addition to teaching part-time for Columbia College of Missouri. For more information about my background and writing, visit my webpage at

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