around your home safely can be a challenge if you have injuries or health
problems that make it easy for you to fall. Many health problems can increase
your risk of falling—poor eyesight, balance problems caused by disease like
stroke or Parkinson's disease, side effects of medicines, weakness or pain in
the legs and feet, and confusion or dementia.
For people with
these conditions, common things like loose rugs, poor lighting, and household
clutter can become a big safety issue. But there are easy things you can do to
make your home a lot safer.
Some common hazards in the home might make you
more likely to fall. But you can make your home safer with a few simple
Falls can lead to serious injuries. Hitting your head can
cause a head injury. A fall can break a bone, resulting in surgery and months
Preventing falls can help you live a more independent
Talk with your doctor
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you
visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins
where you have questions.
How can I make my home fall-proof?
You can make some
simple changes in your home and in the way you do some daily activities to
reduce your risk of falling.
Prevent falls around your home
Remove things that you can trip over, such as
raised doorway thresholds, throw rugs, and clutter. Repair loose carpet or
raised areas in the floor.
Move furniture and electrical cords out
of walking paths.
Use nonskid floor wax, and wipe up spills right
If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip when it becomes worn.
Keep your house well lit, especially stairways,
porches, and outside walkways. Use night-lights in areas such as hallways and
bathrooms. Add extra light switches or use remote switches (such as switches
that go on or off when you clap your hands) to make it easier to turn lights on
if you have to get up during the night.
Put sturdy handrails on
If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the
winter, have a family member or friend sprinkle salt or sand on slippery steps and sidewalks.
Reduce the chance of a fall during your daily activities
Store household items on lower shelves so that
you do not have to climb or reach high. If you have to climb for something, use a step
stool with handrails.
Do not try to carry too many things at the
same time. Have a place near your door where you can place packages and
groceries while you close the door and get ready to put things
Wear low-heeled shoes that fit well and give your feet good
support. Use footwear with nonskid soles. Check the heels and soles of your
shoes for wear. Repair or replace worn heels or soles.
Do not wear
socks without shoes on smooth floors.
Prevent falls in the bathroom
Many falls occur during bathing.
Install grab handles and nonskid mats inside
and outside your shower or tub and near the toilet and sinks.
shower chairs and bath benches.
Get into a tub or shower by
putting the weaker leg in first. Get out of a tub or shower with your strong
Use a long-handled brush or mittens with straps to
help with bathing.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerElizabeth A. Phelan, MD, MS - Geriatric Medicine