Vital Tips for a Senior-Safe Fireplace in Your Home: The Friendly Flame

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: May 1, 2022

Every year, more families opt out of sending their family members to nursing homes.

They’re choosing instead, to renovate their homes, so they accommodate their elderly relatives.

Nursing facilities are no longer the leading avenue of senior care. There are many risks and safety concerns involved with sending a loved one to a routine care facility. Many residents become victims of abuse or neglect in nursing homes.

Some personal injury firms like are negotiating settlements with these facilities on behalf of the affected families.

Senior-Safe Fireplace in Your Home

Senior Safe Fireplace in Your Home

The next best option for nursing care is moving your elderly family member into your home. There are several renovations to make, safety updates, and mobility improvements to implement.

Most people consider large appliances and common hazards when it comes to safety-proofing and renovating a home, but several updates often get overlooked, like a fireplace.

Take into account your safety, particularly security measures such as an alarm system and security monitoring.

If you live alone, make sure you have a plan in place in the event of a fall or injury.

Think about having a medical alert system so that you have access to aid 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the event of an emergency.

As beautiful and cozy as a fireplace can be, it’s also a safety hazard. Several precautions need to be put in place to ensure that your fireplace is safe for your loved ones.


One of the most important safety features to have in a fireplace for seniors is an automatic gas shut-off valve. This will ensure that if there is ever a fire, the gas supply will be cut off immediately, preventing any further danger.

Glass Screens

If you have a gas or electric fireplace, you can install glass screens that will prevent your loved one from coming into contact with any part of the fire.

Glass screens are safer than metal ones because they don’t heat up as quickly and can withstand higher temperatures without getting hot.

Heat Resistant Paint

The exterior walls surrounding your firebox should be painted with heat-resistant paint. This will help to protect your walls from any potential sparks or flames that may come flying out of the fireplace.

Fireplace Tools

Keep a fire extinguisher and a bucket of sand nearby in case of an emergency. Make sure all of your fireplace tools are stored out of reach, as they can also be a safety hazard.


Be sure to change your fireplace filters regularly. A dirty filter can cause the fireplace to emit dangerous fumes. You can tell when a filter needs to be changed when it starts to turn black.



If you have a gas fireplace, install barriers around it to prevent your loved one from getting too close to the flames.

You could use an L-shaped iron rod or gate that will block access to the firebox area of the room.

Fireplace Matches

If your family member struggles with cognitive or executive function, it’s good to keep all hazard-use objects out of reach.

They may light a match without realizing it or try to put the fire out with their hands. Store all fireplace matches in a safe place.


Choose The Right Class Of Fire Extinguisher

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case you need to douse a flame. If your relative is still capable of operating a fire extinguisher, be sure to show them how it works and where it’s stored.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors

Install smoke detectors in your home so you can protect your loved ones from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Change their batteries regularly and test them frequently to ensure they’re working properly.


Check for cracks in the chimney and have them repaired as soon as possible. A cracked chimney can allow carbon monoxide to seep into your home, which can be deadly.

Make sure you keep your fireplace clean and free of obstruction so that it’s functioning safely and efficiently.

Regular Maintenence

It’s important to have regular maintenance done on your fireplace to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Have a qualified technician check the gas lines, flue, and firebox for any potential problems.



If you have a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to install proper ventilation in your home. This will help to get rid of the smoke and fumes from the fire.

Burning Materials

Do not burn any materials that emit hazardous fumes or black smoke. This includes plastics, chemicals, or other flammable items.

If your relative is struggling with their cognitive abilities and they forget what they can burn safely in a fireplace, it’s better to keep all combustible objects out of reach. To minimize threats, exercise extra caution in your daily life.

Simple things like trying to make sure you can access all of your utensils and cookware, keeping spices on the counter rather than in overhead cabinets, and removing all fall hazards from walkways can help you maintain a safe environment.


Electric fireplace inserts are another great way to make your fireplace safe for seniors. They come with all of the safety features mentioned above, plus they’re easy to operate and maintain.

Fireplace Removal

Fireplace Removal

If you feel that having a fireplace is too much of a safety risk for your family member, then consider removing it altogether. You could replace the fireplace with a wall unit and turn it into a storage area.

If you do decide to remove your fireplace completely, be sure to have all of the components properly disposed of at an appropriate facility.

You should also seal off any air ducts that may lead from your home into the chimney space so they won’t become a hazard.

It’s not a good idea to go it alone. Make sure you’re surrounded by people you care about, as well as specialists who know what to do in an emergency.

Having a safe fireplace is important for any home, but it’s especially crucial if you have elderly loved ones living with you. By following these precautions, you can make sure your family stays protected.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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