Complete a Five-Minute Environmental Assessment for Your Loved One

Hebrew SeniorLife’s Home Care Professionals are trained to carefully evaluate senior’s environments during visits and look for signs of potential problems. Since it can be challenging for families to recognize issues in familiar settings, our experts have developed questions to help guide a home health assessment that family members can easily complete. Consider the following categories and questions the next time you visit:

Pay attention to the neighborhood, not just the home.

  • Try to visit on a week day, as the neighborhood environment can differ greatly on a weekend.
  • How far is the nearest pharmacy and grocery store?
  • Are neighbors close by?
  • Are any neighbors home during the day?
  • Are seniors in contact with any neighbors?
  • Is a bus route close?
  • What is the parking situation?
  • Is the sidewalk level?
  • Are there cracks in the front walk?
  • How many steps are there to the front door?
  • Is the door itself too heavy?

Safety Hazards In the Home

  • Observe how seniors move around and get up from sitting. Is there obvious difficulty?
  • How many floors are there in home?
  • Are they ignoring or using walkers?
  • Are rugs worn enough to create a tripping hazard?
  • Are door thresholds causing problems for them?
  • Are there too many scatter rugs on floors?
  • Are there enough hand rails in the home? Are any of them loose?
  • Are electrical cords present in walking areas?
  • Is there a grab bar in the shower?
  • Is the overall lighting in the house good enough?
  • Where are bathrooms and laundry located?

Nutrition, Medication and Overall Upkeep of Home

  • Are there expired foods in refrigerator? 
  • Are pots and pans being used to prepare meals?
  • Are dishes kept in a cabinet that they can reach within a safe range of motion?
  • Are any medications expired?
  • How do they keep track of medications taken (pill boxes, lists, etc.)?
  • Has there been a change in the general upkeep of the house?
  • Is there increased dust that a senior may not be seeing?
  • Who takes care of outdoor chores (trash, shoveling, raking)? 

If your answers to these questions raise any concerns, contact a primary health care provider or consider how home care services could improve the situation. The good news is that this type of home health assessment can spark solutions for problems seniors face. For more information about in-home health services offered by HSL and how they can help as a follow-up to your assessment, call  781-234-9900.