Home Trip and Fall Prevention Assessment Program
- Community Rescue Service provides a Home Fall Prevention Assessment Program to help seniors in our first due response area identify potential trip and fall hazards in their home.
- These identifiable hazards have been known to contribute to trips and falls..
- A trip and fall safety guideline and checklist is included on this website to assist in identifying potential trip and fall hazards which may be located in your home.
Preventing Falls Among Seniors
1. Begin a regular exercise program.
Exercise is one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Exercises that improve balance and coordination (like Tai Chi) are the most helpful.
Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling.
Ask your doctor or health care worker about the best type of exercise program for you.
2. Make your home safer.
About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:
- Remove things you can trip over (such as papers, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Lamp shades or frosted bulbs can reduce glare.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Wear shoes that give good support and have thin non-slip soles. Avoid wearing slippers and athletic shoes with deep treads.
3. Have your health care provider review your medicines.
Have your doctor, or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take (including ones that don’t need prescriptions such as cold medicines). As you get older, the way some medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you drowsy or light-headed which can lead to a fall.
4. Have your vision checked.
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
Assessing Trip and Falls Hazards With In Your Home
The checklist asks about hazards found in each room of your home. For each hazard, the checklist tells you how to fix the problem. At the end of the checklist, you’ll find other tips for preventing falls.
FLOORS: Look at the floor in each room.
Q: When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture?
Ask someone to move the furniture so your path is clear.
Q: Do you have throw rugs on the floor?
Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.
Q: Are there papers, books, towels, shoes, magazines, boxes, blankets, or other objects on the floor?
Pick up things that are on the floor. Always keep objects off the floor.
Q: Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords (like lamp, telephone, or extension cords)?
Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them. If needed, have an electrician put in another outlet.
STAIRS AND STEPS: Look at the stairs you use both inside and outside your home.
Q: Are there papers, shoes, books, or other objects on the stairs?
Pick up things on the stairs. Always keep objects off stairs.
Q: Are some steps broken or uneven?
Fix loose or uneven steps.
Q: Are you missing a light over the stairway?
Have an electrician put in an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Q: Do you have only one light switch for your stairs (only at the top or at the bottom of the stairs)?
Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. You can get light switches that glow.
Q: Has the stairway light bulb burned out?
Have a friend or family member change the light bulb.
Q: Is the carpet on the steps loose or torn?
Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step, or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.
Q: Are the handrails loose or broken? Is there a handrail on only one side of the stairs?
Fix loose handrails or put in new ones. Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.
KITCHEN: Look at your kitchen and eating area.
Q: Are the things you use often on high shelves?
Move items in your cabinets. Keep things you use often on the lower shelves (about waist level).
Q: Is your step stool unsteady?
If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.
BATHROOMS: Look at all your bathrooms.
Q: Is the tub or shower floor slippery?
Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
Q: Do you need some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?
Have a carpenter put grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.
BEDROOMS: Look at all your bedrooms.
Q: Is the light near the bed hard to reach?
Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.
Q: Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?
Put in a night-light so you can see where you’re walking. Some night-lights go on by themselves after dark.