Fall Prevention in the Home, Adult

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    Fall Prevention in the Home, Adult

    Fall Prevention in the Home, Adult

    Falls can cause injuries and affect people of all ages. There are many simple things that you can do to make your home safe and to help prevent falls.

    If you need it, ask for help making these changes.

    What actions can I take to prevent falls?

    General information

    • Use good lighting in all rooms. Make sure to:
      • Replace any light bulbs that burn out.
      • Turn on lights if it is dark and use night-lights.
    • Keep items that you use often in easy-to-reach places. Lower the shelves around your home if needed.
    • Move furniture so that there are clear paths around it.
    • Do not keep throw rugs or other things on the floor that can make you trip.
    • If any of your floors are uneven, fix them.
    • Add color or contrast paint or tape to clearly mark and help you see:
      • Grab bars or handrails.
      • First and last steps of staircases.
      • Where the edge of each step is.
    • If you use a ladder or stepladder:
      • Make sure that it is fully opened. Do not climb a closed ladder.
      • Make sure the sides of the ladder are locked in place.
      • Have someone hold the ladder while you use it.
    • Know where your pets are as you move through your home.

    What can I do in the bathroom?

    A grab bar next to a toilet.

    Shower and bathtub, showing safety grab bars on the walls.
    • Keep the floor dry. Clean up any water that is on the floor right away.
    • Remove soap buildup in the bathtub or shower. Buildup makes bathtubs and showers slippery.
    • Use non-skid mats or decals on the floor of the bathtub or shower.
    • Attach bath mats securely with double-sided, non-slip rug tape.
    • If you need to sit down while you are in the shower, use a non-slip stool.
    • Install grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub and shower. Do not use towel bars as grab bars.

    What can I do in the bedroom?

    • Make sure that you have a light by your bed that is easy to reach.
    • Do not use any sheets or blankets on your bed that hang to the floor.
    • Have a firm bench or chair with side arms that you can use for support when you get dressed.

    What can I do in the kitchen?

    • Clean up any spills right away.
    • If you need to reach something above you, use a sturdy step stool that has a grab bar.
    • Keep electrical cables out of the way.
    • Do not use floor polish or wax that makes floors slippery.

    What can I do with my stairs?

    • Do not leave anything on the stairs.
    • Make sure that you have a light switch at the top and the bottom of the stairs. Have them installed if you do not have them.
    • Make sure that there are handrails on both sides of the stairs. Fix handrails that are broken or loose. Make sure that handrails are as long as the staircases.
    • Install non-slip stair treads on all stairs in your home if they do not have carpet.
    • Avoid having throw rugs at the top or bottom of stairs, or secure the rugs with carpet tape to prevent them from moving.
    • Choose a carpet design that does not hide the edge of steps on the stairs. Make sure that carpet is firmly attached to the stairs. Fix any carpet that is loose or worn.

    What can I do on the outside of my home?

    • Use bright outdoor lighting.
    • Repair the edges of walkways and driveways and fix any cracks. Clear paths of anything that can make you trip, such as tools or rocks.
    • Add color or contrast paint or tape to clearly mark and help you see high doorway thresholds.
    • Trim any bushes or trees on the main path into your home.
    • Check that handrails are securely fastened and in good repair. Both sides of all steps should have handrails.
    • Install guardrails along the edges of any raised decks or porches.
    • Have leaves, snow, and ice cleared regularly. Use sand, salt, or ice melt on walkways during winter months if you live where there is ice and snow.
    • In the garage, clean up any spills right away, including grease or oil spills.

    What other actions can I take?

    • Review your medicines with your health care provider. Some medicines can make you confused or feel dizzy. This can increase your chance of falling.
    • Wear closed-toe shoes that fit well and support your feet. Wear shoes that have rubber soles and low heels.
    • Use a cane, walker, scooter, or crutches that help you move around if needed.

    Talk with your provider about other ways that you can decrease your risk of falls. This may include seeing a physical therapist to learn to do exercises to improve movement and strength.

    Where to find more information

    Contact a health care provider if:

    • You are afraid of falling at home.
    • You feel weak, drowsy, or dizzy at home.
    • You fall at home.

    Get help right away if you:

    • Lose consciousness or have trouble moving after a fall.
    • Have a fall that causes a head injury.

    These symptoms may be an emergency. Get help right away. Call 911.
    • Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away.
    • Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

    This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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