Fall Safety Checklist for Home

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Put fall safety at the top of your home improvement to-do list. Easy changes and repairs can yield huge benefits for those who live there and their guests. According to the CDC, factors in the home environment contribute to about 50% of falls. Most are simple to fix, but frequently overlooked. It’s time to make fall safety a top priority. Start by using this helpful checklist.

Interior View Of Contemporary Lounge With Staircase

Outdoor Fall Safety

◻ Provide plenty of lighting at all pathways, entrances and doors

◻ Keep sidewalks and walkways in good repair – replace or fix broken or uneven areas

◻ Remove large weeds, protruding roots, overgrowth of shrubs and trees, and any debris such as sticks/branches, rocks and leaves from all pathways

  • Note: Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice

◻ Clear snow and ice and use sand/salt to add traction

◻ Clean up oil-based spills to prevent slippery areas on concrete or asphalt

Indoor Fall Safety

Floors

◻ Wipe up spills immediately

◻ Remove all clutter from the floor including shoes, papers, magazines, etc.

◻ Move and secure wires and cables so they are out of the way and off the floor

◻ Remove throw rugs. If they must be used, they need to be well secured with non-slip backing or double-sided carpet tape and checked frequently.

◻ Repair and replace worn carpet

◻ Install carpeting that is dense with a low pile

◻ Select no wax, non-skid flooring

Kitchen

◻ Rearrange storage and place frequently used items in cabinets and on shelves that are closest to waist height to prevent excessive reaching and bending

◻ If needed, use a sturdy step stool, preferably one with a handle, instead of a chair to reach items on higher shelves

Bathroom

◻ Use a non-slip mat or anti-skid surface on and outside the tub and shower floor

◻ Install grab bars in the shower area and next to the toilet

◻ Raise the toilet height. Learn about the benefits of correct toilet height here.

Bedroom

◻ Have a bedside lamp to turn on before getting out of bed in the dark

◻ Use nightlights

Lighting and Electrical

◻ Have enough light so that it is evenly distributed in each room or space – prevent areas with shadows and glare

◻ Replace any burned out bulbs with energy efficient and longer lasting LED bulbs 

◻ Have light switches and electrical outlets at locations that are easy to access

Steps and Stairs – interior and exterior

For further information, look at these step & stair solutions

◻ Remove all objects from steps

◻ Repair steps including making steps as even as possible

◻ Have good lighting – ideally a light that can be controlled from a switch at both the top and bottom of the steps

◻ Make sure carpet is well-attached to each step 

◻ Apply anti-slip treatment or non-slip treads to uncarpeted stairs

◻ Have handrails that are easily reached on both sides of steps

◻ Tighten handrails frequently

◻ Have a contrasting color on each step edge for better visibility

Other fall safety tips

◻ Avoid low furniture. Use furniture with sturdy armrests. This article details ways to raise low seats. Here’s another about the benefits of optimal seat height.

◻ Avoid carrying things in your hands while walking. Instead place items in a pocket or shoulder bag.

◻ Wear flat, sturdy, well-fitting shoes with wide, low, non-slip soles as much as possible

◻ Do not rush to answer the phone or door

◻ Carry a cell phone or wear an alarm device or smart watch that could be used in case of a fall or other emergency

About the Author

As a home health Physical Therapist for over 20 years, I help clients solve home dilemmas so they can live their best life.

I'm here to use that same problem-solving expertise and training as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to help you create an optimized home that's forward-thinking and future-ready to support you and your loved ones well for a lifetime.

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