Fall Prevention and Home Safety

Falls cause injuries and can affect all age groups. It is possible to use preventive measures to significantly decrease the likelihood of falls. There are many simple measures which can make your home safer and prevent falls.

OUTDOORS

  • Repair cracks and edges of walkways and driveways.

  • Remove high doorway thresholds.

  • Trim shrubbery on the main path into your home.

  • Have good outside lighting.

  • Clear walkways of tools, rocks, debris, and clutter.

  • Check that handrails are not broken and are securely fastened. Both sides of steps should have handrails.

  • Have leaves, snow, and ice cleared regularly.

  • Use sand or salt on walkways during winter months.

  • In the garage, clean up grease or oil spills.

BATHROOM

  • Install night lights.

  • Install grab bars by the toilet and in the tub and shower.

  • Use non-skid mats or decals in the tub or shower.

  • Place a plastic non-slip stool in the shower to sit on, if needed.

  • Keep floors dry and clean up all water on the floor immediately.

  • Remove soap buildup in the tub or shower on a regular basis.

  • Secure bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape.

  • Remove throw rugs and tripping hazards from the floors.

BEDROOMS

  • Install night lights.

  • Make sure a bedside light is easy to reach.

  • Do not use oversized bedding.

  • Keep a telephone by your bedside.

  • Have a firm chair with side arms to use for getting dressed.

  • Remove throw rugs and tripping hazards from the floor.

KITCHEN

  • Keep handles on pots and pans turned toward the center of the stove. Use back burners when possible.

  • Clean up spills quickly and allow time for drying.

  • Avoid walking on wet floors.

  • Avoid hot utensils and knives.

  • Position shelves so they are not too high or low.

  • Place commonly used objects within easy reach.

  • If necessary, use a sturdy step stool with a grab bar when reaching.

  • Keep electrical cables out of the way.

  • Do not use floor polish or wax that makes floors slippery. If you must use wax, use non-skid floor wax.

  • Remove throw rugs and tripping hazards from the floor.

STAIRWAYS

  • Never leave objects on stairs.

  • Place handrails on both sides of stairways and use them. Fix any loose handrails. Make sure handrails on both sides of the stairways are as long as the stairs.

  • Check carpeting to make sure it is firmly attached along stairs. Make repairs to worn or loose carpet promptly.

  • Avoid placing throw rugs at the top or bottom of stairways, or properly secure the rug with carpet tape to prevent slippage. Get rid of throw rugs, if possible.

  • Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.

OTHER FALL PREVENTION TIPS

  • Wear low-heel or rubber-soled shoes that are supportive and fit well. Wear closed toe shoes.

  • When using a stepladder, make sure it is fully opened and both spreaders are firmly locked. Do not climb a closed stepladder.

  • Add color or contrast paint or tape to grab bars and handrails in your home. Place contrasting color strips on first and last steps.

  • Learn and use mobility aids as needed. Install an electrical emergency response system.

  • Turn on lights to avoid dark areas. Replace light bulbs that burn out immediately. Get light switches that glow.

  • Arrange furniture to create clear pathways. Keep furniture in the same place.

  • Firmly attach carpet with non-skid or double-sided tape.

  • Eliminate uneven floor surfaces.

  • Select a carpet pattern that does not visually hide the edge of steps.

  • Be aware of all pets.

OTHER HOME SAFETY TIPS

  • Set the water temperature for 120° F (48.8° C).

  • Keep emergency numbers on or near the telephone.

  • Keep smoke detectors on every level of the home and near sleeping areas.