Fall Prevention: The Home Can Be Hazardous
Preventing Falls at Home
Most falls occur at home. Here are several things that add to your risk for falling:
- Poor vision or hearing
- A history of falls
- Improper use of walking aids, such as a cane
- Pain, dizziness or weakness from a medical condition, poor nutrition, certain medications, or alcohol
- Being over 65 years old
- Conditions in the home, such as slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor, etc.
- Indoor pets
And if you take a blood thinner or have osteoporosis, you are more likely to suffer an injury if you fall.
We want to help you stay safe in your home.
Here are some simple suggestions:
Keep your path clear
- Move books, boxes, shoes and clutter out of your path, off stairs, and away from doorways and exits.
- Move extension, appliance, and telephone cords that you can trip over.
- Keep your telephone within easy reach.
- Watch where your pets are sleeping or lying down, and where they are walking when up.
- Rearrange furniture to allow a clear path that is at least 3 feet wide. If the furniture is heavy, ask for help.
- Select furniture with armrests for support as you are getting up and sitting down.
- Avoid losing your balance by reaching. Store items that you use a lot at waist level.
- Wipe up spills immediately
Don’t give your feet a reason to slip or trip
- Wear non-skid slippers or shoes with a tread.
- Put away those throw and scatter rugs!
- Apply double-sided tape to the back of carpet to keep it from moving.
- Take your time when getting to the phone or to answer the door. Don’t rush.
- When walking up and down stairs, take your time and use the handrail.
- Place non-skid treads or attach bright reflective tape to mark the edges of the stairs.
- Rely on handrails when using the stairs.
Brighten up your home
- Turn the lights on as you move through the house and up and down the stairs.
- Use nightlights to brighten bedrooms, halls and bathrooms.
- Have a lamp or flashlight and your glasses within easy reach of your bed.
- Keep a small flashlight on your keychain.
- When spending the night away from home, take along a flashlight so when you wake up in an unfamiliar room, you can find your way to the bathroom.
- Replace dim, burned out or glaring lights with bright, soft white bulbs.
Keep your bathroom fall free
- Use a non-slip mat in the tub or shower.
- Use a non-slip rug at exit/entrance to tub or shower to use only when bathing. Pick it up off the floor when not in use.
- Use a bath bench or shower stool.
- Use liquid soap or soap-on-a-rope to help avoid dropping your soap.
- Install a grab bar by the toilet and in the tub or shower. A towel rack doesn’t work – it can pull out of the wall.
- Set the water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, to prevent burns and falls from trying to avoid burns.
- Use a raised toilet seat and safety frame for ease in getting up from and sitting down on your toilet.
If you fall
- Try to determine if you are hurt
- If you’re not hurt, roll over slowly and try to sit up
- If you think you’ve been hurt, call for help. If you are alone, try to crawl towards the telephone and call 911.
- If you hit something as you fell, look for bruising or bleeding. If you hit your head on something and you take a blood thinner, tell someone what happened as soon as you can. Watch for drowsiness or confusion after hitting your head. If this happens, call 911 immediately.
- If you experience dizziness and weakness from poor nutrition or from changes in medication, you should consult your provider or outpatient nutrition therapist.