The Ultimate Fall Prevention Checklist for Seniors
You may not realize it, but your home is filled with unsuspecting hazards that can pose serious risks to your health.
To make life easier for you, we’ve created a fall prevention checklist to help you live a safer, healthier, and stress-free life.
Practical Tips for Fall-Proofing Your Home
Please speak to a qualified professional before implementing these into your home to make sure it’s right for you.
Here’s the ultimate list of fall prevention tips that you can use to fall-proof your home!
- Placing items in easy reach will mean that you do not have to do anything that may unbalance you. Avoid standing on chairs or stools, or over-stretch yourself to get something
- If you must use a step-stool, choose one that has a bar at the top for you to hold on to
- Ask someone else for assistance
- Install handrails or grab bars in the bathroom to help you get in and out of the shower or bathtub
- Install handrails near the toilet to sit down and stand easier
- Install night lights for middle-of-the-night visits to the bathroom
- Install non-slip stickers or non-slip mats on your shower/bathtub bottom
- Remove soap build-up from all areas of your bathroom as this can be slippery
- Install adjustable height shower heads. Not only can you remove the shower head and adjust its height, you can also utilize it as a vertical railing to hold on to
- Place double-sided tape on the bottom of bathroom maps to avoid slips
- Install night-lights or place a lamp within easy reach from the bed in case you need to get up in the middle of the night
- Put away items you can trip over when lighting is dim, such as shoes, bags, small stools or tables
- Remove large cumbersome rugs that are easy to trip over
Stairs & Walkways
- Install handrails on both sides of your stairwells
- Place light switches at the top and bottom of your stairwells. Proper lighting can decrease your fall risk (more on that below).
- Remove items like unplugged cords, discarded clothing, kicked off shoes, and misplaced bags from hallways, stairs, and doorways. Keeping your pathways clear at all times will go a long way in preventing falls at home.
- During the winter ask someone to clear your walkways and driveway of snow and spread salt or sand on icy surfaces
- During the fall ask someone to rake and clean any leaves or branches that may obstruct your walkways
- Repair any holes or uneven surfaces, such as garden paths
- Fix loose stones, planks or bricks in outdoor areas, such as stairs or patios.
- Ensure there are no tripping hazards en route from the kitchen to the outdoor entertaining area: when you are carrying dishes or other items outside, you will likely have your field of vision partially blocked by what you are carrying.
- Mop up spills immediately
- If floors are wet after cleaning – do not walk on them. Place a warning sign for others in your home so they also know that the floor is wet.
- Arrange your furniture and home decor to give you enough room to walk freely
- Make sure all your handrails are in good condition (not broken) and securely attached
- De-clutter! Keeping your home tidy with everything put away is a great habit. Clutter is not your friend when you’re trying to reduce the risk of falls.
- Use a cane or walker if needed
- Add professionally installed ramps to areas of the home if they are needed to allow for better mobility
- Add alarms or emergency aids to key areas of the home, such as the bathroom and kitchen, in the event that you do take a tumble. You will need to get help quickly and easily.
Lighting & Visibility
- Put night lights in the hallways, bathrooms, bedrooms and in the kitchen for visibility at night
- Place a lamp within reach near your bed
- Make sure all the areas you frequent are well lit. Don’t forget the basement or garage.
- Keep a flashlight handy in the nightstand next to your bed in case of power outages
- If you require corrective lenses, make sure you use them at night and during the day to reduce your fall risk
Floors & Rugs
- Make sure rugs and any flooring is fully secured to the ground
- Use non-slip rugs or double sided tape to set flooring in place. These can be found at any local department or hardware store.
- If you have hardwood floors, do not wear socks or worn out slippers as you can easily slip and lose your balance. If you prefer to walk around with slippers, ensure that the grip is not worn out.
- Use non-slip floor wax for wooden floors
Taking Medications that Cause Drowsiness, Dizziness or Confusion
The following medicines may increase your fall risk.
- Blood pressure pills
- Sleeping pills
- Heart medicines
- Muscle relaxants
Speak to your doctor about whether any of your medications may cause you to feel drowsy, lightheaded, weak or unbalanced. Some medications also affect your eyesight.
On a similar note, excessive alcohol consumption and drunkenness will increase your risk of losing balance, tripping and falling in all areas of the house.
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes when out
- Opt for non-slip soles (flip flops not ideal)
- Practice at-home balance exercises to reduce your fall risk
- Yoga, tai chi, and step classes are all great workouts and double as beneficial balance exercises. Check out our Yoga for Osteoporosis post.
As you can tell, most of the precautions are very easy to implement and won’t break your bank account in the process. Creating a safer environment in your home will not only help you prevent falling, but provide you with a sense of comfort and peace of mind.
There are also many precautions that can be taken when you’re not at home that can go a long way to keeping you upright.
- Do your best to live a healthy and active lifestyle. With regular exercise and proper eating, you can strengthen your muscles and improve your balance.
- Wear proper footwear. The right shoes are ones that are snug fitting and have proper grip on the bottom
- Take a sight test. It’s hard to be aware of the risks if you can’t see them!
- If you’re on medication, be sure to strictly follow the dosage instructions. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about the medication you’re taking and see if they’re still right for you
- Avoid drinking alcohol in excess as it can lead to decreased coordination and can potentially mix poorly with any medication you may be taking. Also, excessive drinking can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.6
Why Is Your Fall Risk Higher As Age?
As you get older, the likelihood of you suffering through an illness, deficiency, or medical issue is heightened. Because of this, you are at a much greater risk of falling. To compound the issue, if you’ve had a fall in the past six months, you may be at a greater risk of falling again, which can feel like being trapped in a never ending cycle.7This is why it’s critical to take the proper precautions and understand your limitations.
If You Fall Down, What Should You Do?
- For starters, you should immediately call your doctor and book an appointment. Not only will the doctor aid you in your recovery, but they can formulate solutions and strategies to help you avoid this situation in the future. It’s important to be open with your doctor about any pains or medical issues you have, as you may not realize that you’re dealing with an issue that directly contributed to you falling. If possible, try and provide as much detail as possible about the incident as this will allow for a much clearer assessment of the situation.
- It’s also a good idea to see a specialist — optometrist, physiotherapist, orthopedic doctor, etc. — who can provide additional support and treatment. If you’re having problems seeing, that can impact your balance and put you at a higher risk of falling. An optometrist can provide the specialized support that a general practice doctor may not be able to offer. Often times, your doctor is the one who will refer you to a specialist.
As you age, falling down poses a serious risk to health and general well-being. Having all of the information about preventing falls, taking the right precautions, and getting the right help is critical in ensuring that you can live a safe and healthy life.
If you do happen to fall and fracture a bone – we have you covered. Check out our 5 Step Post-Fracture Healing Plan to speed up your fracture recovery.
Bone healing is a complex and complicated process, but AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost have been clinically proven to increase bone density at any age. Together, they ensure you get the vitamins and minerals your bones need for a complete and quick recovery.
Take Debbie for instance, who fractured her wrist all too easily and discovered she had osteoporosis. She then started AlgaeCal…
“At the risk of sounding like quite a clumsy clot I actually have had 2 falls since [being on AlgaeCal]…both could have easily resulted in fractures. But things are strengthening.” – Debbie Darcy (Swansea, UK)
If you have any questions or additional tips on fall prevention, please share them in the comments section below.
Until next time – take care, live life, and stay on your feet!