Feeling safe and free from the risk of accidents is crucial if you are to go on living in your own home. Quite often, all that needs to be done to improve your safety at home are a few jobs and adaptations.
Repairs, adaptations and improvements can help prevent the risk of accidents at home. For example, you can reduce your chances of trips by removing or fixing any hazards such as:
One of the biggest risks at home can be fire. You should install smoke alarms, which are relatively inexpensive and quite easy to fit, throughout your home. Most supermarkets sell smoke alarms and the batteries last some time, though you should test them once a week. You could also mark your escape route out of your home with tactile indicators.
Gas appliances, such as fires, boilers, cookers and central heating systems should be regularly checked by your gas supplier to make sure that they are safe. To find out if you are entitled to a free annual check, you should ask your gas or electricity suppliers if you can be put on their priority service register.
You can ask an occupational therapist, social services or community care team for advice on other safety measures. They can assess how safely you are able to navigate your home. Contact your local council social services department for details - the phone number will be in the telephone directory or on any letters you have received from the council. You can also search for their details on the Sightline Directory.
For products that can help make your home safer, visit our online shop.
A telephone is essential if you live on your own. Do not let your sight loss prevent you from owning or being able to use one – there are a large number of easy-to-use, big button and tactile phones available, including from the RNIB shop.
Your telephone provider may have a scheme to help you with the cost of installation and line rental.
There are also grants, which can contribute towards the cost of line rental or purchasing a phone, available from other organisations or charities. If you are eligible, Telephones for the Blind can help towards line rental as well as purchase an easy-to-use mobile phone for you.
Getting help in the event of an emergency is important. Community alarms allow you to call for help even if you can't get to a phone. By pressing a button on a pendant, which you wear at all times, staff at a 24-hour response centre will be contacted and will alert the best person to help you, whether it’s a neighbour, relative, friend or the emergency services. You should contact the housing department of your local council for more details of schemes available in your area.
In case something does happen at home, you should consider having household insurance to cover any expense incurred. RNIB has partnered with Unique to offer customers carefully chosen home insurance products. Age UK also offers home insurance products for older people.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust provides lots of information personal safety, including living safely in your home. You can also call them on 020 7091 0014.
For information on how to improve your home with adaptations, read one of our following leaflets: