In the United States, more than 25% of adults, age 65 and up, will experience a fall this year. Approximately 60% of these falls will occur within the home. Steps can be taken to help “fall proof” your home and decrease your risk of falls. Below is a list of tips and tricks for making your home a safer environment.
Outside Your Home:
- Ensure proper lighting of your driveway, walkway and steps.
- Check for cracks or loose stones on walkways and steps that could cause trips/falls.
- Install a railing for handheld support to climb stairs.
- Keep your most used items within reach to avoid using step stools, ladders or chairs.
- If you must have a rug/mat in the kitchen, make sure it has a rubber bottom to avoid it slipping/sliding.
- Clean up any spills immediately and make sure appliances are not leaking water on the floor.
- Have proper lighting at the top and bottom of your stairs.
- Keep stairs free of clutter.
- Use proper footwear when climbing stairs to avoid slips/falls.
- Make sure handrails are sturdy and use them.
- Having a railing on both sides of the stairs will help reduce risk of falls.
- Have a light that is easy to reach from bed to avoid walking in the dark.
- Have a phone that is easy to reach from bed.
- Keep a clear path from the bed to the bathroom.
- Keep the floors clear of throw rugs, clothes and shoes.
- Make sure all wires and cords are kept secured and out of your walking path.
- If you have had falls from bed or become dizzy when moving from lying down to sitting up, you may want to install a bed rail.
- Use a non-slip rubber mat in the tub/shower.
- Install grab bars within the shower and next to the toilet.
- Make sure to dry off completely after a shower, especially your feet, to avoid slips in the bathroom.
- Remove any loose throw rugs in the bathroom. If you need a rug, make sure it has a rubber bottom that does not slide when stepped on.
- Consider using a shower chair if you become fatigued or lose your balance while showering.
- Switch the shower head to a handheld head if you need to use a shower chair.
- Clear away all clutter.
- Secure cords and wires and keep them out of your walking path.
- Avoid rolling chairs as they can slide out from under you while getting up or sitting down.
Pets are another big tripping hazard within the home. Try attaching a bell to your animal’s collar so you can hear them coming to avoid tripping/falling over them.
By following these simple tips, you can create a safer home environment and decrease your risk of falls. If you are still concerned about falling and think you may benefit from balance training, your primary care physician can provide you with a physical therapy prescription for gait/balance training. Contact MOTION if you would like to set up a balance evaluation.