Home Safety/Fall Prevention Guidelines
Regular exercise will help build your strength and improve balance and
coordination. Ask your doctor or health care professional about the best
exercise for you.
Take Your Time
Being rushed or distracted increases your chance of falling. Sit a moment
before you stand from your bed. Tap your toes and clench and release your
fists to get blood flowing. Get out of a chair slowly. Stand and get your
balance before walking. Don't rush through activity.
Clear The Clutter
Indoor tripping hazards include papers, books, electrical cords, shoes,
pets, planters, bookcases, etc.
Outdoor tripping hazards include walkways, outdoor steps, snow or ice,
Uneven Walking Surfaces
Indoor surfaces can change from rug to tile or hardwood floors. Thresholds
also create uneven surfaces. Replace carpeting or floor surfaces that
pucker or are torn.
Outdoor surface changes from cement to grass or curbs and walkways. Approach
change in surfaces slowly. Adjust your balance and proceed with caution
until your body has adjusted to the change in surface.
Have Your Eyes Checked
Poor vision can increase your chance of falling. See an eye specialist
once a year or as needed.
Increase lighting along the pathway between your bedroom and bathroom.
People often awaken following a dream state and are not 100% conscious
of surroundings due to pain medicine or changes in medical status. Night
time or early morning walks to the bathroom are safety hazards when lighting
is not sufficient. Add night lights or increase bulb wattage in bedrooms,
hallways and bathrooms.
Does every room have a light switch within easy reach?
Increase light in the entry and exit way of the home. Sensor lighting
is available that will turn on when there is movement. This is good for
you and bad for intruders. Again, increase wattage of bulbs.
Turn on lights before you use the stairs. Increase wattage of bulbs.
Do not pick up pets from a standing position. Sit and let them come to
you. When feeding pets, place their dishes at a higher level. Be careful
they do not get under your feet.
Have your doctor or pharmacist review all of your medications, including
over-the-counter drugs. Some medications can affect your balance and coordination.
Use a pill organizer to keep track of daily intake of medications.
Wear sturdy, well-fitted low heeled shows with non-slip soles for best
protection from falls.
Sturdy, easy grip handrails on both sides of the stairs are your best
protection. Don't forget to turn on the lighting prior to going up
or down the stairs. Don't forget to increase the wattage of bulbs
at the stairs.
Install grab bars around the toilet and in the tub or shower when needed.
Use a shower seat if you are at all unsteady on your feet. Use a non-slip
bath mat inside the tub or shower or use shower booties. (Your therapist
can provide you with information on shower booties). If you have a bath
mat or rug outside your shower, make sure it has a non-skid backing. A
higher toilet seat is easier to get up and down from than a lower one.
Wipe up the floor spills as soon as possible.
A safe reach zone is shoulder height to knee height. Place frequently
used items within that zone. This includes items in the kitchen, bedroom,
bathroom, etc. The purchase of a reacher/grabber/picker-upper is well
worth the money for picking up items from the floor.
Use a timer when cooking. Place towels and other flammable items away
from the stove and oven. Do not wear clothing with loose sleeves when
cooking. If you use a walker, do not carry items in your hands. Use a
walker bag/basket/tray or a rolling cart to manipulate items from place
to place. Be especially careful with hot items. Always use a potholder
or towel to prevent burns.
Make sure you have working smoke detectors throughout your house. Check
Call 911 for an emergency
Keep family and friend's phone numbers close to your phone
Make sure a phone is accessible from all rooms
If you have a cell phone, carry it on you at all times