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Rehabilitation > Home Safety Guide
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Home Safety/Fall Prevention Guidelines

Exercise

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 surfaces.

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

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 bulbe 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.

Pets

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.

Medications

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.

Shoes

Wear sturdy, well-fitted low heeled shows with non-slip soles for best protection from falls.

Stairs

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.

Bathroom Safety

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.

Reaching

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.

Kitchen Safety

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.

Fire Safety

Make sure you have working smoke detectors throughout your house.  Check batteries yearly.

Phones

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