Because June is Home Safety Month, we though it might be a good time to make available our Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults. This document is something which we provide to our home care clients and we thought it would be a helpful resource for family caregivers. Click here if you would like to download a PDF version of the following article. It is also available in the "Home Care Resource Library"
If you would like more information and resources on Home Safety Month visit the website for the Home Safety Council.
Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults
KEY SAFETY TIPS:
· Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone
· Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up
· Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up
FLOORS: Look at the floor in each room.
1. When you walk in a room, do you have to walk around furniture? If yes, ask someone to move the furniture so your path is clear.
2. Do you have throw rugs on the floor? If yes, remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.
3. Are papers, magazines, books, shoes, boxes, blankets, towels, or other objects on the floor? If yes, pick up things that are on the floor and keep objects off the floor.
4. Do you have to walk over or around cords or wires (cords from lamps, phone, or extension)? If yes, roll up or tape cords/wires next to a wall so you can’t trip over them. Consider having an electrician put in another electrical outlet.
STAIRS & STEPS: Look at the stairs you use both inside and outside your home.
1. Are papers, shoes, books, or other objects on the stairs or steps? Pick up things on the stairs, and keep objects off the stairs.
2. Are some steps broken or uneven? Fix the loose or uneven steps.
3. Are you missing a light over the stairway? Have a handyman or electrician install an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
4. Has the stairway light burned out? Have a friend or family member change the light bulb.
5. Is there only one light switch for your stairs (either top or bottom)? Have a handyman or electrician install a light switch where it is needed. Consider a switch that glows in the dark.
6. Are the handrails loose or broken? Is there a handrail on only one side of the stairs? Fix loose handrails or put in new ones so they are on both sides of the stairs and as long as the stairs.
7. Is the carpet on the steps loose or torn? Make sure carpet is attached to every step or remove carpet and put in non-slip rubber treads on stairs.
KITCHEN: Look at your kitchen and eating area.
1. Are the things you use on high shelves? Ask friends or family to place things on lower shelves or cabinets (about waist high).
2. Is your step stool unsteady? Get a stool with a bar to hold on to, not a chair.
BEDROOMS: Look at all your bedrooms.
1. Is the light near the bed hard to reach? Place a lamp close to the bed.
2. Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark? Put a night-light so you can see where you’re walking. Consider night-lights that go on by themselves after dark.
BATHROOMS: Look at all your bathrooms.
1. Is the floor in your tub or shower slippery? Put in a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips.
2. Do you have some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet? Have a handyman put in grab bars next to and inside the tub, and by the toilet.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT FALLS
1. Regular exercise makes you stronger and improves balance and coordination.
2. Have your doctor/pharmacist look at all your medicines, even over the counter medicines. Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and some should not be mixed with others.
3. Have your vision checked at least once an year. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.
4. Get up slowly after you sit or lie down. Some medicines/conditions can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy with quick position changes.
5. Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles and avoid slippers and athletic shoes with thick soles.
6. Paint a contrasting color on the top front edge of all steps, so you can see the stairs better.
7. Improve the lighting in your home by using brighter bulbs. Use lamp shades to reduce glare.
8. It is safest to have uniform lighting in a room. Add lighting to dark areas. Hang light weight curtains to reduce glare from bright windows and doors.