Best Tips to Prevent Falls in the House

How to Prevent Falls at Home

Falls in the house aren’t just a product of aging. They can occur for a variety of reasons like physical changes due to a health condition, injury, or getting used to a new medication.

Regardless of the cause, the fear of falling shouldn’t limit you from moving around your home independently.

If you or a loved one is at a heightened risk for falls in the house, you can take some preventive steps to make the home more safely navigable:

  1. Prevent falls in the bathroom
  2. Declutter the house
  3. Improve the lighting
  4. Get a medical alert system
  5. Invest in the right footwear
  6. Use a cane or walker
  7. Work on improving balance

Preventing falls in the bathroom

Bathroom falls can occur while someone is getting in or out of the tub, sitting on and standing up from the toilet, or walking across a wet floor to grab a towel. That said, you can make a few simple additions to the bathroom that will help minimize the risk for falling.
The bathroom the most common part of the house for slips and falls.

1. Install a grab bar

Consider installing grab bars to provide an extra source of stability. For the most secure grip, choose a slip-resistant bar that screws directly into your wall studs. Install them around the tub, toilet, or anywhere else in the bathroom where a little extra support might help prevent a fall.

Moen 24-Inch Designer Bathroom Grab Bar
  • Brushed nickel finish
  • Supports up to 500 lbs.
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Finger notches for better grip price as of 10/18/19 11:00 a.m. MST

2. Get a shower chair and transfer benches

Shower chairs are designed to give stability to those who have difficulty balancing while standing. They also give you a place to rest if it’s difficult to stand for long periods of time, like while showering. The right shower chair will have rubber tips on the legs to provide ample stability if you’re frequently standing and sitting back down.

Essential Medical Molded Shower Bench with Arms
  • Removable arms
  • Large, texturized seat
  • Anodized frame to prevent rust
  • Supports up to 300 lbs. price as of 10/18/19 11:00 a.m. MST

3. Get nonslip shower mats

If you prefer to shower standing up, consider getting a nonslip shower mat to improve footing on the wet surface. You can also place nonslip mats in other parts of the bathroom, like next to the tub, where water could make the surface slippery and dangerous.

Gorilla Grip Original Patented Bath, Shower, Tub Mat
  • Antibacterial and mildew resistant
  • BPA and latex free, non-toxic
  • Machine washable price as of 10/18/19 11:00 a.m. MST

Declutter the house

Perhaps the easiest step to reduce the risk of falls in the house is to keep things tidy, especially on the floor. If you have kids or pets in the house, keep an eye on their toys to make sure they aren’t strewn about in places that could lead to falls. Look to clean up boxes, newspapers, and unnecessary cords from highly trafficked areas in the house. It’s especially important to declutter around hallways and staircases, where falls are particularly common.
preventing falls in the home

Improving lighting to prevent falls in the home

Lighting is an often overlooked contributor to indoor falls. Especially around stairs and narrow hallways, you want to ensure the lighting is adequate and consistent from room to room. But it’s also important to note that brighter isn’t always necessarily better. Instead, focus on creating lighting that is consistent in both brightness and color temperature. Take a look at how smart lightbulbs can improve lighting throughout your home.

Get a medical alert system

If your family member or loved one is at risk of falling, consider getting them a medical alert system. Traditionally these devices rely on buttons that call for help, but nowadays there is a number of medical alert devices that will automatically sensor falls and trigger alerts. Should a fall occur despite your preventive efforts, these devices can greatly increase response times, either by you or by an emergency response team alerted to the fall.

Invest in the right shoes

Footwear is another commonly overlooked factor when trying to prevent falls. The right shoes will fit comfortably enough to provide all-day support and will offer a little more traction than walking around the house barefoot. Here are some footwear characteristics that can help decrease fall risk for your loved ones living at home:

  • Ample support around the ankle
  • Rigid rubber sole that grips well on any kind of surface
  • Hook-and-loop fasteners to ensure a good fit
  • Heels elevated no more than one inch off the ground

Nonslip socks

For a more comfortable, albeit slightly less protective alternative, you can buy nonslip socks that have grips on the bottom to improve traction and prevent falls on hard surfaces.

Pembrook Non Skid/Slip Socks
  • Color-matched skid resistant grips
  • Unisex design
  • Medical-grade price as of 10/18/19 11:00 a.m. MST

Use a cane or walker

If it’s difficult to move around the house without grabbing walls or furniture, a cane can provide just enough support to safely navigate the house. For even more stability, a walker can mitigate much of the fall risk that comes from moving about. That said, the walker isn’t quite as versatile when it comes to navigating tight spaces or narrow hallways.

Vive Folding Walker
  • Folds with the push of a button
  • Rubber hand grips
  • Walker bag included
  • Supports up to 250 lbs. price as of 10/18/19 11:00 a.m. MST

Try tai chi or balance exercises

Many aging adults use Tai chi to improve balance, confidence, and muscular strength, all of which can greatly reduce the risk for falls in everyday life. Preparing the house for fall prevention is important, but building that strength and confidence is one of the most important preventive measures. Look for tai chi classes available in your area, but don’t shy away from any exercise that can improve balance and help mitigate the risks of falling in the house.
preventing falls

Prevention is key

By following the steps above, you can greatly reduce the risk of falls in the house for you or your loved one. A proactive approach to fall prevention in addition to a medical alert system can make living at home much safer for those at risk of falling.

What have you done to fall-proof your home? We’d love for you to leave a comment below with your tips and recommendations.