Safeguard Your Home for Fall Prevention

The first day of fall is Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Sponsored by the National Council on Aging, the day was designated to raise awareness about preventing fall-related injuries among older adults.

Did you know that 60% of falls occur in the home? With a few simple home improvement steps and lifestyle changes, falls are very preventable. Consider implementing these ideas from the NCOA to safeguard your home:

• Reduce general clutter so you don’t trip.
• Get rid of small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to prevent rugs from sliding.
• Place grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
• Put non-slip strips or a rubber mat on the floor of your bathtub or shower.
• Check lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways.
• Put night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen.
• Keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power is out and you need to get up.
• Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed.
• Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs.
• Install light switches on the top and bottom of staircases.
• When carrying an item on stairs, hold the item in one hand and use the handrail with the other.
• Make sure you can see where your feet are stepping when using stairs.
• Wear shoes inside the home and outside.
• Manage and contain electrical cords.
• Clean spills immediately and avoid wet floors.
• Use light bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture.
• Rearrange often-used items in your home to make them more accessible. Store everyday items within easy reach to avoid standing on a stool to get it.

If you have fallen, your doctor might suggest that an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or nurse visit your home. These health care providers can assess your home’s safety and advise you about making changes to prevent falls.