Because anyone can have a bad fall, the following suggestions are worth considering regardless of your age.
- If you need glasses, wear them, but never walk around with glasses on that are meant only for reading. Take them off before moving around.
- Use a walking stick or cane if you are even slightly unsteady on your feet. Do not hesitate to use a walker or support frame outdoors, as well as in the house, if you feel safer or your physician recommends one.
- Wear well-fitted shoes with low heels or slippers with non-slip soles. Avoid long shoelaces that can easily come undone and trip you.
- Make sure carpets and other floor covering are secured around the edges. Never use loose mats and rugs on shiny, polished floors.
- Illuminate potentially hazardous areas such as stairs. White or very light-colored paint on either side of a flight of stairs can help.
- Strong banisters running along all indoor and outdoor steps are essential. One should be installed wherever such a support is not already in place or use an alternate route.
- Have a bedside lamp or low-wattage night light in your bedroom so that you never have to grope around in the dark when getting out of bed at night. Power-outage lights that come on automatically come in handy when the power fails.
- Fit secure handrails in convenient places near the bathtub and toilet and use non-slip mats both inside and alongside every bath or shower.
- Minimize floor clutter in rooms and eliminate anything on or near stairways. Children's toys can be especially hazardous.
- Secure electrical appliance cords to moldings or walls whenever possible. Do not let them run loosely across the floor.
- Store frequently-used clothing and other items in places you can reach without standing on a stool or chair. If you must climb up to get something, use a stable stepladder or sturdy chair. Better still, get someone to do the reaching for you.
- Use a broomstick or long dowel to test your smoke detectors.
Fall Hazards Checklist
- Door threshold is not too high
- Skid-proof mats or strips in tub or shower
- Toilet and tub grab bars securely fastened where needed
- Toilet height is correct
- Bed height is appropriate
- Nightlights and/or bedside light available for safe movement
- Pathway from bedroom to bathroom unobstructed
- Bed mattresses provide good support while sitting on edge
- Floors are non-slip and clutter-free
- Commonly used items on closet shelves can be reached easily
- Floor is not slippery
- Storage areas are easily reached
- Chairs are wheel-free and at the right height for sitting down and rising from easily
- Step stools are sturdy and treads are slip-resistant
- Light switches are accessible when entering room
- Lights are bright enough
- Stairways are adequately lighted
- Stair handrails are securely installed
- Telephones are accessible in order to call for assistance
- Furniture is secure enough to provide support if leaned upon
- Step surfaces are non-slip
- Step edges are visually marked to avoid tripping
- Steps are in good repair
- Walkways are slip- and trip-free
- Outdoor light is sufficient for nighttime activities