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Fall-Proof Your Home: Stay On Your Feet With 7 Easy Steps

Remember when we were in our 20s? Those carefree college days, when living in a space with last week's laundry scattered all over the floor and draped over all of our chairs didn’t seem like a big deal. While navigating a chaotic living space might not have been a problem in your youth, as an older adult, it could now pose a serious fall risk. 

That’s right, a messy house is one of the biggest contributors to someone experiencing a fall. And as readers of our blogs know, falls are no joke. They can be life-threatening accidents. We publish this blog not to criticize anybody's housekeeping skills but rather to encourage us all to take proactive steps to make our home a safe and comfortable space.

Why Is It Important To Fall-Proof Your Home?

As we get older, the risk of us experiencing a fall only increases with each passing year. The risk of that fall also having life-altering consequences goes up too. Falls are the leading cause of hospitalization among older adults. They also account for 95% of all hip fractures and it is also estimated that a third of seniors are admitted into a long-term care facility following hospitalization after a fall. Fall-proofing your home can decrease your risk of falling and a potentially life-altering injury. Simply put, keeping your living space clean, organized, and clear of clutter can help you live confidently and independently in your home for longer.

Think about fall-proofing your home

When Should You Start Thinking About Home Safety?

It’s never too early to start thinking about making your home a safer, fall-free space. The seriousness of a fall indeed increases with age. And while a fall may be more likely to cause a serious injury for someone who’s in their 90s than it would for someone in their 60s, everyone should be aware of the risk factors that contribute to a fall. Simply put, anybody over the age of 65 should start considering ways to make their home a safer place. You never know when or how an accident may occur and how it will affect you. Better to be prepared and reduce your risk early, than to be sorry about it later.

Fall-proof your home-stair lift

Where Do Most Falls Occur In The Home?

A fall can happen anywhere in your home. However, some areas tend to pose a higher risk than others. Here are the most at-risk areas: 

  • Bathrooms: Slippery surfaces, limited space, and difficulty getting in and out of the bathtub or shower can contribute to falls in the bathroom.

  • Staircases: Uneven steps, poor lighting, and lack of handrails can make navigating stairs hazardous.

  • Bedrooms: Poor lighting, loose rugs, and clutter around the bed can increase the risk of tripping or stumbling.

  • Living Rooms: Loose rugs, electrical cords, and uneven flooring can be tripping hazards in common living areas.


7 Ways You Can Fall-Proof Your Home

Fall-proof your home-clean your home

1. Keep Your Floor and Walkways Clear

Help prevent yourself from tripping and experiencing a fall by making sure there is little for you to trip over in the first place. Remove clutter from the floor of your general living spaces and walkways, including shoes, books, magazines, and electrical cords. This will minimize tripping hazards and help keep clear paths for safe movement.

2. Keep Rugs and Carpets Secure

Use non-slip rugs to secure loose rugs and carpets to prevent getting your foot caught under a rug and tripping or having the rug slip under your foot. Using double-sided tape is a great DIY method of keeping your rugs secure. Another option to consider may be to remove small throw rugs altogether. Safety is more important than decorating the room!

Fall-proof your home-use nightlight

3. Lighting and Visibility 

It becomes harder to get to where you need to go safely when you can’t see where you need to go. Poor visibility is a leading cause of falls. By simply being able to see where you are walking, you can significantly reduce the chance of a fall. Ensure adequate lighting throughout your home, especially in areas like hallways, bathrooms, near stairs, and around the bed. Consider night lights, lights with automation (that can automatically turn on and off based on preset times), or motion-sensor lights for added visibility during nighttime.

Fall-proof your home- grab bar

4. Install Grab Bars For Extra Support

We can all use some extra support. Especially when we have to use our muscles to lift ourselves. Whether we’re in a sitting position and want to stand up, transition into the shower, or walk up some steps (yes, even if it is only one or two steps).  Install grab bars in strategic locations like the bathroom. They can be placed near the toilet, shower/tub, and next to the sink. Consider adding handrails on both sides of staircases for extra support.

Fall-proof your home-proper footwear

5. Choose Safe Footwear

Well-fitting footwear can also go a long way in helping you stay on your feet. As comfortable as wearing your coziest socks around the house is, it’s unfortunately not the safest move. Low-heeled shoes/footwear with good tread and non-skid soles are a much better option. Try to avoid loose slippers, socks, sandals, or walking barefoot.

6. Keep Your Floors Even

Uneven surfaces like transitional strips and drops in doorways or platforms that require you to step onto or down from a surface when entering and exiting from one room to another can pose a significant tripping risk. Repair uneven flooring, loose floorboards, or raised thresholds to create a smooth and level walking surface.

Fall-proof your home-walker

7. Use Assistive Devices When Necessary

We know that walking around with a cane or walker can be a tough transition. Many may be reluctant to walk around with an assistive device around the home. However, understanding that these tools only enable you to live a more independent and full life is important. They can help you stay on your feet while also adding an extra layer of safety as you go about your normal routine. Medical alarms are also great assistive devices that can help you get timely help in case you experience a fall and are unable to lift yourself off the ground or you’re experiencing a medical emergency. One of the best ways to get back on your feet and routine is to make sure you can get quick help after a fall or emergency.

What Are The Other Most Common Reasons For Falls?

Fall-proof your home-avoid falls

Muscle Weakness and Compromised Balance

The aging process can make it difficult to maintain stability. Falls become more likely as our body is unable to catch itself as effectively and quickly as it did when we were younger. Our balance also becomes compromised. It’s important to understand that this is a normal part of aging. What’s important is to understand how getting older affects our bodies and learn what actions we can take to adjust to these changes and keep us safe.

Fall-proof your home-eye checkups

Poor Vision

Not being able to see where we are going is a big issue. It opens up opportunities for tripping, missing a step, or stepping on painful objects. Getting your eyes and ears checked is important for preventing falls. Good vision and hearing can help seniors navigate their environment better and can even go a long way in improving their balance.

Medication Side Effects & Mismanagement

Sticking to your medication regime is important. But it’s also important to understand the effects that the medications may have on your body. Certain medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or lightheadedness, which can increase the risk of falling. For example, some antidepressants can make you more sensitive to the heat, which can increase your risk of falling from fainting outdoors. Both not knowing your medication's side effects and not understanding the importance of sticking to your medication schedule can increase your risk of falling. Using assistive devices like medication managers can help!

Ways you can reduce the chances of experiencing a fall.


Fall-proof your home-workout

Regular Physical Activity And A Healthy Diet

Keeping your body healthy and at an active weight is one of the most important things you can do to help keep you on your feet. Exercising regularly, including strength training, balance exercises, and daily walking, can improve your body's muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination, all of which contribute to better balance and stability. While a healthy diet can help make sure you have the energy needed to go about your day.

Fall-proof your home-see your doctor

Regular Doctor Checkups

Scheduling regular check-ups with your healthcare providers can help address medication concerns, health conditions, and your overall well-being. All things that contribute to fall risks.

Starting to think about fall-proofing your home early can go a long way and may save you from experiencing an injury later on. By implementing these fall-proofing strategies and adopting safe habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of falls and live a safer, more independent life in your own home.

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