- Written by Scott A. Trudeau, PhD, OTR/L
- Published: 18 August 2017
More than 75% of falls take place inside or in close proximity to the home, but your home doesn’t have to be an obstacle course of potential falls. Some simple and quick changes will easily help reduce your risk of falling. Review the steps below to get started today.
The front door
- Check your front steps. If you have steps at the entrance of your home, make sure they are not broken or uneven. Try to fix damage, such as cracks or wobbly steps, as soon as possible.
- Check the lighting around your front door. Make sure all entryways are well lit so you can see where you are stepping. It’s best if you can have motion sensor lights, so you don’t have to worry about turning lights on yourself. Plus, they can save you money on energy costs.
- Consider installing a grab bar. Putting grab bars on one side of your door can provide balance while you’re putting the key in the door, or stepping up once you have the door open, especially if you are carrying bags or the steps are slick.
- Move your most commonly used items within reach. Put the kitchen items you use every day—like plates, glasses, or even seasonings—on the lowest shelves. This will help you avoid using stepstools and chairs—things you can easily lose your balance on—to reach items on higher shelves. Plan a head for special needs. Ask a loved one or visitor for help every few months or so to rotate seasonal items to within reach – for example baking dishes that are only used at holiday time.
- Replace scatter rugs with rubber backed rugs. Scatter rugs or area rugs are tripping hazards. If you prefer to have a mat on the floor near the sink or stove, make sure it is placed securely on the floor and doesn’t have turned corners or edges that you could trip on. The best rugs have heavy-backed rubber bottoms so they stay in place.
- Clean up spills immediately. Kitchen floors can be slippery and very dangerous when wet! Keep a hand towel within easy reach to help you clean up spills easily and quickly.
September 22, 2017, is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. For three weeks in September, we will be running this article from the National Council on Aging (copyright 2016) in several installments. Learn more.
LifePath offers a free falls prevention workshop, called, “A Matter of Balance,” through the Healthy Living Program. Learn more.