Small adjustments to your living environment can help keep you safe. There are a number of adjustments you may make to your house. Read on to learn how to fall-proof a home both easily and affordably.
Improvements to the House Can Alleviate Falls
Many state and local governments offer educational and/or home modification initiatives to assist your aging loved ones in avoiding falls. To see if a program is available near you, contact your local health department.
Your Personal Medical Alert System
Consider getting an emergency response system if you’re worried about falling. You simply have to press a button on a specific necklace or bracelet to call 911 if you fall or need assistance. This service comes at a cost, and it is not frequently covered by insurance.
Fall-Proofing Your Home
Below are some steps that you can take to fall-proof your home.
- Keep your phone close to your bed.
- Keep light switches and night lights within easy reach of your bed.
- Keep a flashlight near your bedside in case the power goes out and you need to get out of bed.
Powder Rooms and Bathrooms
- Don’t forget to turn on the night lights.
- Install grab bars around toilets and both on the exterior and interior of tubs and showers.
- Cover all damp surfaces with strips, carpet, or non-skid mats.
Other Living Areas
- Don’t be tripped up by your cat or dog. When you’re walking or standing, keep an eye on your pet.
- Instead of standing on a chair or table to reach something too high, use a ‘reach stick’ or ask for assistance. Reach sticks are specialized grabbing devices available at most hardware and medical supply stores. If you’re going to use a step stool, be sure it’s stable and has a handrail. Make sure someone is standing next to you.
- Keep frequently used things within convenient reach.
- Avoid walking on freshly washed floors since they are slick.
- Ensure that your sofas and chairs are at a comfortable height for you to get out and get into.
- Arrange your furniture and other items so that they don’t get in the way when you’re walking.
- Firmly anchor all carpets and large area rugs to the floor.
- Keep telephone and electric cords close to walls and away from walking areas.
Stairways, Hallways, and Pathways
- Avoid using small area rugs or toss rugs.
- Make sure all carpets are securely fastened to the floor so they don’t slip. No-slip strips should be used on tile and wooden flooring. These strips are available at any hardware shop.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of steps, as well as at each end of a long hall, to ensure adequate lighting. Don’t forget to turn on the lights!
- Make sure there are handrails on both sides of the steps and that they are securely fixed. When going down or up, keep your hands on the railings. If you need to carry something up the stairs, do so with one hand while using the handrail with the other. Allowing what you’re carrying to impede your view of the steps is not a good idea.