My husband’s balance is poor, so he uses a walker to get around. Even though he’s careful, I still worry about him falling and seriously hurting himself. What changes can I make to our home to help prevent this?
Many falls happen at home, where we seem to have a ‘false sense of security’, almost carelessness regarding our movements. There are many simple and affordable changes you can make to your home that will help prevent falls and better ensure your safety.
- Replace dull/yellow bulbs with brighter white and/or LED lighting.
- Install motion-activated lights or self-adhesive/stick-on lights to brighten up dark hallways or stairwells.
- If possible, light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and at both ends of long hallways.
- Place nightlights in each room or leave a light on in the bathroom/kitchen for nighttime safety.
- Keep a flashlight by your bed.
- Turn a porch light on if you leave during the day and plan to return home at night
- Pick up throw rugs and/or affix rugs and carpets to the floor with heavy duty double side tape.
- Affix non-slip strips on tile and wooden floors for extra traction/grip.
- Use heavy-duty, nonskid mats or strips in the bathroom or where floors have the potential to get wet.
- Keep pathways open and tidy. Don’t leave books, papers, clothes or shoes on the floors or stairs.
- Arrange furniture so that pathways are wide and open to prevent catching a foot, cane or walker leg.
- Keep electrical cords secured close to walls and off the floor, away from pathways.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom and grab bars/railings outside of doors and steps/stairs.
- Place landline phones by lounge chair, kitchen, bed and bathroom or any other room where you spend a lot of time.
- When standing up from a reclining/sitting position, count to 5 before walking to gain your bearings and balance.
- Keep frequently used items stored in easy to reach, waist or eye level locations to avoid stretching, leaning, or having to stand on a stool to reach items. Use a long handled ‘reacher-grabber’ to pick up items off the floor.
- Be sure your chair/sofa is the right height for you to get in and out of easily.
- Be aware of your cat or dog’s whereabouts whenever you’re standing or walking.
- Overall, be cognizant of your surroundings when moving around your home.
For more information about this and/or other important Aging In Place tips for yourself and/or someone you care for, feel free to call Aging Resources at 515-255-1310 and ask to speak with a specialist.