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Fall Prevention Checklist for Seniors: Safety at Home

Fall Prevention Checklist for Seniors: Safety at Home

Unfortunately, falls happen more often than you think. One in four seniors fall each year.1 And if you do fall, it doubles your chances of falling again.1 But there are steps you can take to make your home safer. Start with this fall prevention checklist and ask your doctor for more ways to reduce your chances of a fall at home.

This checklist is organized into sections including:

Stairs and Steps
Bedroom
Bathroom
Kitchen
Living Areas
Outside
Other Fall Prevention Suggestions

Stairs and Steps

Install good lighting in stairways
Replace any burnt out bulbs
Make sure a light switch is installed at both the top and bottom of the stairs
Consider using light switches that glow so you can see them in the dark
Install handrails on both sides of the stairway that are at least as long as the stairs
Fix loose handrails
Repair any loose, broken, or uneven floor boards
Add non-slip safety treads on bare wood stairs
Paint a solid stripe at the top edge of each wood stair so you can see the stairs clearly (light paint on dark wood and vice versa)
Or use reflective tape on the top and bottom of the stairs to clearly mark where your staircase begins and ends
If your stairs are carpeted, use solid colored carpet (not patterned, thick, or dark) so you can clearly see the stair edge
Fix any carpet that doesn’t adhere firmly
Remove rugs from the top and bottom of the stairs
Clear stairs of any clutter and don’t leave objects on them (books, papers, etc.)
Keep a flashlight nearby in case your power goes out
Watch out for single steps, they can become tripping hazards
Make sure all thresholds are even with the floor (including both indoor and outdoor doorways)

Bedroom

Keep a lamp and a flashlight near your bed, in case you need to get up at night
Install nightlights from your bedroom to your bathroom
Keep a phone or charged cell phone near your bed
Add a bed rail to make getting in and out of bed easier
Keep your floors clear from any clutter
Repair any loose floorboards and ensure any carpet is low pile
Hem your pants so they don’t touch the floor when you’re barefoot, you could trip over them if they are too long

Bathroom

Add a nightlight
Install grab bars near the toilet and bathtub/shower, add HoldFast Grips for extra non-slip grip aid
Add a raised toilet seat to make standing up from the toilet easier
Or use a toilet surround to provide a place to grip for support when sitting and standing from the toilet
A raised seat with handles combines the two and adds extra support
Add a non-slip bath mat or shower mat to reduce slips in the bathroom
Use a shower chair or bath bench to sit while you bathe and reduce your chance of falls
Use a bath lift if you are no longer able to get in and out of the bath independently
Add a grab bar to your tub to make it easier to get in and out
Place a secured, slip-resistant rug beside the bathtub/shower for safer entry and exits
Clean up any water on the floor promptly

Kitchen

Organize your kitchen so the food, dishes, and cooking equipment you use most frequently are easy to reach
If you need to reach objects in upper cabinets, use a step stool with a handle (don’t stand on a chair, countertop, box, etc.)
Keep a reacher grabber nearby for a better solution to reaching objects in high or low cabinets (without the falling risk of a step stool)
Replace any loose floorboards
Remove any rugs (you could slip or trip on them)
Don’t use floor wax, or if you must, only use non-skid floor wax
Post any important health information, doctor’s phone numbers, etc. on your refrigerator
Clean up any spills promptly and don’t walk on the floors until cleaning solutions have dried completely

Living Areas

Make sure you have a clear pathway between rooms
Remove any rugs or secure them with double-sided tape or non-slip backing and check them periodically
Install light switches at the entrance of rooms so you don’t need to go into a darkened room to turn on the lights (consider glow-in-the-dark switches)
Keep the room and floor clear of clutter that could be a tripping hazard, including plants, shoes, low coffee tables, books, and blankets
Keep electrical, extension, and telephone cords away from your walking path, coil them and tape them to the wall instead (but don’t put any cords under rugs)
Repair any loose floorboards
Install low pile carpet over any concrete, marble, or ceramic floors to reduce the severity of injuries if you fall
Throw away any wobbly chairs or tables
Don’t sit on low chairs or couches that are hard to stand up from - if you need support when standing try using a CouchCane

Outside

Make sure all paths are brightly lit
Stoops and steps should also be lit to avoid trips and falls
Install handrails along any outdoor steps (front steps, garage steps, back steps, deck steps, etc.)
Repair uneven or broken sidewalks, walkways, and driveways
Keep your sidewalk and walkways clear from snow, shovel it or hire someone to do it for you
Keep your icy walkways salted to reduce falls
Add an ice cane attachment to your cane for extra grip on icy areas
Keep your steps, walkways, decks, and porches clear of wet leaves, sticks, rocks, newspapers, and other potential slip hazards
Remove roots that stick out from the ground
Trim your bushes and shrubbery along walkways so it doesn’t impede your path

Other Fall Prevention Suggestions

Wear non-slip shoes indoors to reduce your risk of falls, if you prefer socks make sure they are socks with non-slip treads
Make sure you have a phone you can reach from your bed, another phone accessible from the floor (in case you fall and can’t stand up), and consider carrying a cell phone in your pocket
Wear a medical alert necklace so you can quickly and easily call 911 for help, if you do fall
Ask your doctor about starting an exercise program to improve your strength and balance
Have your vision checked annually, impaired vision can lead to falls
Ask your doctor to review your medication (even OTCs) because some have side effects that can make you dizzy


Being proactive can help keep you safe from falls. Get started today by downloading, printing, and following the PDF of this fall prevention checklist. Then talk to your doctor about other steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling at home and read more about fall prevention to keep you safe.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Important Facts About Falls. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2mjZik6
  2. Medical Disclaimer: The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images and other material, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.