More than half of all falls take place at home, and these falls are especially dangerous for seniors. Among older adults, falls are the greatest cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths. Making a few changes around your apartment or house can lower that risk, however. Just follow this home safety checklist for seniors, adapted from the National Institute On Aging.
To Do Across the House
❑ Install sufficient lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways.
❑ Get light bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture.
❑ Put night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen.
In Living Areas
❑ Arrange your furniture to leave room to walk freely around it.
❑ Move small furniture or other items that you could trip over.
❑ Move electrical cords and telephone wires near walls and away from walking paths.
❑ Affix carpets and large area rugs firmly to the floor.
❑ Get rid of throw rugs or small area rugs.
❑ Put no-slip strips on tile and wooden floors.
❑ If you have waxed floors, get non-skid wax.
Along Stairs and Hallways
❑ Remove items from your staircase and hallway to create clear paths.
❑ Install handrails on both sides of stairs and walkways.
❑ Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and at each end of a long hall.
❑ Mount grab bars near toilets.
❑ Mount grab bars on the inside and outside of your tub and shower.
❑ Place non-skid mats, strips, or carpet on surfaces that may get wet.
❑ Put night lights and light switches close to your bed.
❑ Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed.
❑ Put a flashlight by your bed in case of a power outage.
❑ Put your telephone near your bed.
In Kitchen and Storage Areas
❑ Put items you use often (food boxes, cans, dishes) within easy reach.
❑ Get a grab stick to reach high items or pick items up off the floor.
❑ If you use a step stool, get one with a handrail on top.
Learn more about other ways of preventing falls in the elderly on After55.com, and watch this video review of tips from the National Institutes of Health.