Six out of every 10 falls happen at home, where we spend much of our time and tend to move around without thinking about our safety. Many falls could be prevented by making simple changes in your living areas, as well as personal and lifestyle changes.
To make your home safer, you can remove or avoid safety hazards by
- improve lighting
- install handrails and grab bars
- rearrange items to make them easier to reach
Home Safety Tips:
- Remove anything that could cause you to trip or slip. Tripping on clutter, small furniture, pet bowls, electrical or phone cords, or other things can cause you to fall. Slipping on rugs or slick floors can also cause falls.
- Arrange furniture to give you plenty of room to walk freely. Also remove items from stairs, hallways, and pathways.
- Be sure that carpets are secured to the floor and stairs. Remove throw rugs, use non-slip rugs, or attach rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
- Put non-slip strips on floors and steps. Put non-slip strips or a rubber mat on the floor of your bathtub or shower, as well. You can buy these items at a home center or hardware store.
- Avoid wet floors and clean up spills right away. Use only non-skid wax on waxed floors at home.
- Good lighting — inside and outdoors. Make sure you have enough lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways. Use light bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture. Good lighting on stairways is especially important. Light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs can help. Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed. Put night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen. Also keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power is out and you need to get up.
- Install handrails. Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs and walkways. If you must carry something while walking up or down stairs, hold the item in one hand and use the handrail with the other. When you’re carrying something, be sure you can see where your feet are stepping. Place grab bars in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet, can help you avoid falls.
- Rearrange often-used items to make them more accessible. Store food boxes, cans, dishes, clothing, and other everyday items within easy reach. This could prevent a fall that might come from standing on a stool to get to an item.
If you have fallen, your doctor might suggest that an occupational therapist visit your home. The occupational therapist can assess your home’s safety and advise you about making changes to prevent falls.
NIH Senior Health: http://nihseniorhealth.gov