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Preventing Falls at Home

A person can fall for many reasons. Older adults may fall because reaction time slows down as we age. Your muscles and joints may get stiff, weak, or less flexible because of illness, medicines, or a physical condition.

Other health problems that make falls more likely include:

  • Arthritis

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness when you stand up (orthostatic hypotension)

  • History of a stroke

  • Dizziness

  • Anemia

  • Certain medicines taken for mental illness or to control blood pressure.

  • Problems with balance or gait

  • Bladder or urinary problems

  • History of falling

  • Changes in vision (vision impairment)

  • Changes in thinking skills and memory (cognitive impairment)

Injuries from a fall can include serious injuries such as broken bones, dislocated joints, internal bleeding and cuts. Injuries like these can limit your independence.

Prevention tips

To help prevent falls and fall-related injuries, follow the tips below. 

Floors

To make floors safer: 

  • Put nonskid pads under area rugs.

  • Remove small rugs.

  • Replace worn floor coverings.

  • Tack carpets firmly to each step on carpeted stairs. Put nonskid strips on the edges of uncarpeted stairs.

  • Keep floors and stairs free of clutter and cords.

  • Arrange furniture so there are clear pathways.

  • Clean up any spills right away.

Bathrooms

Bathroom set up with grab bars, commode seat, and other safety features.

To make bathrooms safer: 

  • Install grab bars in the tub or shower.

  • Apply nonskid strips or put a nonskid rubber mat in the tub or shower.

  • Sit on a bath chair to bathe.

  • Use bathmats with nonskid backing.

Lighting

To improve visibility in your home: 

  • Keep a flashlight in each room. Or put a lamp next to the bed within easy reach.

  • Put nightlights in the bedrooms, hallways, kitchen, and bathrooms.

  • Make sure all stairways have good lighting.

  • Take your time when going up and down stairs.

  • Put handrails on both sides of stairs and in walkways for more support. To prevent injury to your wrist or arm, don’t use handrails to pull yourself up.

  • Install grab bars to pull yourself up.

  • Move or rearrange items that you use often. This will make them easier to find or reach.

  • Look at your home to find any safety hazards. Especially look at doorways, walkways, and the driveway. Remove or repair any safety problems that you find.

Other changes to make

  • Look around to find any safety hazards. Look closely at doorways, walkways, and the driveway. Remove or repair any safety problems that you find.

  • Wear shoes that fit well.

  • Take your time when going up and down stairs.

  • Put handrails on both sides of stairs and in walkways for more support. To prevent injury to your wrist or arm, don’t use handrails to pull yourself up.

  • Install grab bars wherever needed to pull yourself up.

  • Arrange items that you use often. This will make them easier to find or reach.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Wanda Taylor RN PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.