Falls in the home are serious business--they are the leading cause of death by injury for those over 65. Luckily, there are many things you can do to make a home safer, especially for those with mobility or balance issues.
- Make sure all handrails are not broken and are securely fastened.
- Put handrails on both sides of the stairs.
Floors and rugs:
- Make sure all floor boards are even and rugs, including area rugs, are secured to the floor with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape.
- Use non-skid floor wax.
- Be sure that you can move safely in bathroom area, and in and out of the tub or shower.
- Remove soap build-up in tub or shower on a regular basis.
Place non-slip strips in bath/shower.
- Install adjustable height shower heads.
- Mount grab bars at the toilet, bath and shower on walls with secure reinforcements, to prevent the bars from coming loose.
- Secure bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape or use a slip-free bath mat.
- Items that you use frequently, such as dishes and food items, should be easy to reach. Use a grabber when necessary.
- If you have to use a step stool, make sure that it has a bar at the top to hold on to.
- Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Place a lamp (and telephone) near your bed.
- Keep lighting uniform in each room and add lighting to dark spaces.
- Check whether hallways and rooms have obstacles to safe movement.
- Move newspapers, boxes, electrical and phone cords, plants, and furniture out of traffic areas.
- Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can reach them comfortably.
Outside of your home:
- Repair holes and uneven joints on walkways.
- Arrange to have leaves, snow, and ice removed from stairs and walkways. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.
- Make sure outside lighting is working in entryways and other walk areas.
- Check that handrails are not broken and are securely fastened. Both sides of steps should have handrails.
**List excerpted from Preventing Falls at Home published in 2013 by the Administration on Aging.