HOME SAFETY: Preventing falls at home
By making some changes in your home,
you can reduce your risk of falling.
; FLOORS: Look at furniture placement and other items on the floor. o Ask someone to help you move your furniture so that your
path from room to room is clear. Remove any unnecessary
o Remove throw rugs. They are a tripping hazard.
o Check the carpet on your floor and stairs for tears or ridges.
These should be repaired to ensure a smooth surface.
o Check for uneven surfaces between flooring areas, where
carpet meets tile, or for metal strips between rooms. If there
is a potential for tripping, ask a flooring contractor for options
for smoothing the area.
o Keep items such as shoes, books, papers, magazines, boxes,
towels, and clothing off the floor and stairs.
o Keep electrical and telephone cords out of walkways and
doorways. They should be hidden behind furniture or against
o Some bathtubs and showers come with non-slip surfaces on
the “floor.” If yours does not, place a non-slip rubber mat on
the floor of your tub or shower, or install self-stick strips.
o Have a contractor/carpenter install grab bars inside the tubs
and showers and next to the toilet.
o If you use bath rugs, make sure they are rubber-backed and
do not slip. Use double-sided tape to secure the edges to the
o Place a shower caddy at chest-height to avoid bending over to
pick up items from the shower floor or the edge of the tub.
o Wipe up spilled water immediately using a chamois cloth.
o Place padding on any sharp edges of counters and bathroom
o Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach from the
bed. Turn the light on before getting out of bed.
o Make sure the height of your bed allows both feet to rest flat
on the floor when you sit squarely on the mattress.
o Light your path from the bedroom to the bathroom. Use a
bright night-light, or leave a light on so that you can see
where you are walking.
o Keep items you use most often within arm’s reach, at waist
level or higher.
o Bending down to retrieve an item from a low shelf, then
standing up quickly, can make you dizzy.
o Consider using a reacher/grabber to pick up low items and to
lift down small items placed high.
o If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to.
Make sure the stool is level and sturdy. Avoid using chairs or
other objects as step stools.
o Wipe spills immediately.
; STAIRS and STEPS:
o Install handrails on both sides of stairs. If handrails are
present, make sure they are not loose or broken.
o If there is not a light that illuminates your entire stairway,
have one installed by an electrician. If a light is present, use
the highest-wattage bulb that the fixture will allow.
o Make sure existing carpet is attached securely to every step. o If your home has a second floor or a basement, limit your use
of the stairs. Determine whether you can live on one floor. If
your bedroom is upstairs, is there a room on the main floor
that you can convert to a bedroom?
o Always stand up slowly. Make sure you are balanced, and not
dizzy, before taking any steps.
o Wear sturdy shoes with low, non-skid soles both inside and
outside the house. Avoid slippers, sandals, socks, and bare