Fall Prevention Tips

It is easy for anyone to accidentally trip over a rug or furniture in our homes. But as we age, a small tumble can have a much larger impact and be much more harmful than when we were younger. According to the CDC, falls are the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. 6 out of every 10 falls happen at home. The most common falls occur from tripping over objects on the floor, such as loose rugs.

You may be at higher risk for falling if you:

  • Are 65 years or older

  • Use a walker, cane or other walking aid

  • Have poor vision and/or hearing

  • Are in poor health or have had a previous fall

  • Are not eating nutritious meals- this can cause weakness and/or other health conditions like osteoporosis

By making small adjustments to your home, you can help lower the risk of falling at home. We have broken down these tips by room and category so you can make your entire home safer.


General Home Tips

  • Store frequently used items at waist level in easy-to-reach places

  • Select furniture with armrests for support when getting up and down

  • Don't carry bulky or heavy items up or down stairs

  • Make sure you are up to date on your prescription eyeglasses

  • Wear nonskid footwear

  • Use a reacher/grabber to reach small objects on high shelves

  • Install sturdy handrails on stairs- on both sides if possible

Outdoors

  • Have walkways and driveway cleared of snow, ice and leaves

  • Have someone spread sand or salt on icy surfaces

  • Install and use handrails on outdoor steps

  • Place a secure mat at the entrance to the home

  • Watch out for icy and wet surfaces

Bathrooms

  • Use a raised toilet with safety bars for help getting up and down

  • Install grab bars in the tub and shower and next to the toilet

  • Install a hand-held shower head

  • Use a shower chair

  • Place nonskid adhesive strips or a nonslip mat in the tub/shower

  • Use liquid soap to prevent dropping a bar of soap

Floors

  • Place nonskid treads or double-sided tape under area rugs

  • Remove throw rugs

  • Keep cords and wires out of the way

  • Wipe up spills immediately

  • Put step stools and ladders away immediately after use

  • Remove clutter from floors and chairs

  • Be aware of small pets and pet items

Lighting

  • Replace dim or burned out light bulbs with soft white light bulbs

  • Place a night light by the bed

  • Install a bedside switch that makes it easy to turn the lights on and off, or purchase a touch lamp

  • Place the telephone next to the bed within easy reach

  • Ensure every room, entrance, walkway and stairway is well lit

  • Have flashlights within easy reach

Family members and caregivers can help make adjustments to older adults' homes to make them as safe as possible to prevent falls. There are local senior or community-based agencies that can assist in getting some of these safety supplies. Take some simple steps today to make your home safer for you and your loved ones.

Sources:

Fall-Proof Your Home | Health Library (lutheranhospital.com)

Lutheran Health Network- Preventing Falls at Home brochure