My husband is a firefighter with 32 years of experience in the field. With the improvement in building practices and home fire safety awareness, his engine calls have gone down over the years. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t busier than ever. That’s because the fire calls have been replaced with calls for help for people who’ve fallen or who need a lift assist.
Many mobility impaired people are now living in their homes longer with minimal assistance and those homes aren’t always set up for their safety. But there are a few things you can do to help assure your loved one, or even yourself, is protected from serious falls as long as possible.
Home Safety Checklist for Fall Prevention
- Instruct your family member to always get up slowly from a sitting position. This is especially important if they’ve started or changed medications recently.
- Keep clutter to a minimum and keep the floor clear of debris; especially on the stairs. Ensuring a clear passageway will go a long way to avoiding falls.
- Remove extension cords or other wires that may obstruct your loved one’s way or ones he/she could get entangled in. Extension cords are also a fire danger, especially if they’re run under a rug. NEVER put an electrical cord in any situation where the outside housing could be damaged.
- If you must use a throw rug, secure it to the floor. A loose rug is a recipe for disaster.
- If your loved one is in a wheelchair or walker, remove any thick carpeting which can hamper his/her way. A hard, flat surface, is safer and easier for them to move around on. Provide stockings or slippers with traction on the bottom to assure their safety.
- Install handrails in the bathroom, stairways, and outside paths. Anywhere a little stabilization is required.
- The Bathroom is a place where many falls happen. If the family member has been straining on the toilet, it can start a body’s natural vasovagal reaction which can result in dizziness or fainting. That leads to a fall. Instruct him/her to always get up slowly from the sitting position and use the handrail to avoid this very common fall which can leave the person trapped beside the toilet until help arrives. NEVER be embarrassed to ask for help in lifting a person. Emergency services are there to help you and your loved one.
- Whenever possible, widen doorways for the wheelchair bound and provide a ramp if necessary. If you can’t build a ramp, portable and temporary ramps which fold or roll up and can be stored away when not needed can be purchased.
Falls can cause injuries that can lead to devastating health consequences in people in compromised health situations. Anything you can do to prevent them saves you in both time, money, heartache, and worry.
More Home Safety Checklists: Lighting, Bathrooms, Telephones, Building, Medications, Fire Protection, and Weather.
This post was inspired by Genworth Financial. All opinions are 100% my own. For more information about caregiving, visit the Genworth Financial website.
Great tips, I have been concerned with installing handles in the shower for my sr. parent. I worry so much about a fall in the shower.
Grab bars in the shower are a great idea!
“Keep clutter to a minimum”. That one is hard to do with my MIL. She is 85 and there is clutter everywhere, making it difficult to clean and lake care of the house, and her. Great post.
Thank you for this. I have recently become disabled and my home was in no way equipped to handle any special needs. We have done most of the above… working on handrails in numerous places right now
I’m so glad you’re working to have your house to accommodate your new needs. Preventing falls goes a long way in keeping you safe and well.
these are all very good tips. We fall proofed my elderly grandparent’s house just recently
It’s so good that you did. Falls can lead to so many injuries.
Wow. Somethings I never had thought about before here. Thanks for the tips!
Great post! These are very helpful tips especially for older family members or disabled.
Great tips! I worry about this a lot with my mother. I notice that she gets up to fast and is not very stable on her feet. I know her medication plays a big role in this. It is super important to remind them to get up slow. Another good tip is to get a shower chair. we have done that and it helps. She is not so worried about slipping in the shower now. Thanks for the tips!
My husband said meds are one of the first things they ask about when the arrive on the scene. It happens a lot. That and dehydration.
I didn’t think about dehydration. I will have to make sure she is getting enough fluids. I keep a list of all her meds in my purse in case of emergencies. There is nothing worse then being in the ER and not knowing what medication someone is taking. Thanks for all the great tips! Your the best!
Ah, thanks Tammy! I’m guilty of not even know what meds I take. It’s vitally important info!
These are all great tips. I had to worry about these concerns when my mother was elderly.