< Return to Previous Page

Don’t Slip! Fall Proofing Your Home

By Trena Winans, Director of Education & Outreach

This year more than ever, most of us are spending a great deal of time in our homes. Since the majority of falls happen in the home, it is a perfect time to work on making sure the place you spend most of your time is as fall-proof as possible. Here are some things to consider for home updates.

In the Bathroom:

  • Is there, or can you install a 17 inch toilet bowl to reduce the amount of bending required?
  • Are there grab bars by the toilet and both in and alongside the shower?
    • Special Note! Suction cup-held handles and towel rods are NOT grab bars. They may steady you slightly but are NOT safe to count on if you should slip. Make sure you use correctly installed grab bars that get screwed into studs. Anything else could give you a false sense of security.
      Are there non-slip strips inside your bathtub?

In the Kitchen:

  • Is it possible to have the microwave on the counter rather than above the stove? Taking hot food down from overhead may become dangerous and difficult later in life.
  • Can you reach the cupboards without a ladder or without having to get on your knees? If not, is there adequate storage elsewhere? Alternatively, look into installing pull-down shelving.
  • Are cupboard handles large enough to grab easily even if some mobility is lost?

Throughout the Home:

  • Are doorways wide enough for wheelchair access if you ever needed one? Look for a minimum of 36 inches.
  • Is there a light switch next to the entrance of each room and to any stairwells? Is lighting bright?
    • Special Note! Make sure to use the lights you have! Turning off lights may save you a few pennies in the short term, but the potential cost of a serious fall in dollars, pain and potentially lost independence are immeasurable! It is well worth the small expense to turn on the lights when rooms are dim.
  • Can you reach the controls and all the way to the back of the washer and dryer without climbing on a step-stool? Are they located on the main level of your home?
  • Are railings installed on both sides of any stairwells and are they well-lit with switches at both the top and bottom? Consider installing non-slip strips if they are not there already.

Besides all of the above, make sure you keep your walkways clear of clutter and cords. Be extra watchful if you have pets! Avoid throw rugs, or at least get ones that are not too thick and have a good non-slip backing. Wear shoes that fit well and won’t slip off your feet.

Good habits and a well-designed home can help you remain independent throughout your life. Stay safe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *