4. Remove home hazards
Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards. To make your home safer:
- Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
- Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
- Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.
- Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.
- Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
- Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
- Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.
5. Light up your living space
Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see. Also:
- Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
- Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.
- Make clear paths to light switches that aren't near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
- Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
- Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.
6. Use assistive devices
Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. For example:
- Hand rails for both sides of stairways
- Nonslip treads for bare-wood steps
- A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
- Grab bars for the shower or tub
- A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down
If necessary, ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist. He or she can help you brainstorm other fall-prevention strategies. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you're concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.
Oct. 25, 2016
See more In-depth
- Kiel DP. Falls in older persons: Risk factors and evaluation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 21, 2016.
- Falls in the elderly. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/falls-in-the-elderly/falls-in-the-elderly. Accessed Aug. 21, 2016.
- Important facts about falls. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html. Accessed Aug. 21, 2016.
- Ferri FF. Falls in the elderly. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 14, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Fall prevention. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Falls and older adults: Fall proofing your home. NIH Senior Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/homesafety/01.html. Accessed Aug. 21, 2016.
- Takahashi PY (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 31, 2016.