Falls at Home – Preventive Care for Your Living Area

Most falls that injure our senior citizens happen at home. Here’s how to continue living in your own home and to maintain your independence — by preventing falls at home.

Free Movement

Can you get through easily? Everywhere in your home? Clear your rooms, hallways, and traffic areas to allow yourself free passage. ClutterLook around for stray items that can trip you up:

  • Newspapers
  • Boxes
  • Electrical
  • Phone cords
  • Plants
  • Furniture

Donate things you won’t be using to your local thrift store.  Click for Waterfront Rescue Mission or Salvation Army or Goodwill.

StepStoolEasy Reaching

Have you stored things where you can reach them comfortably?

  • Clothing
  • Bed coverings
  • Dishes & food

Get a step stool with a bar at the top you can grasp while you reach.

handrailsSafe Stairs

  • Are your handrails still in one piece and screwed securely in place?
  • Do you have handrails on both sides of your front steps and back steps?

Safe Flooring

  • Floor boards should be even.
  • Carpets should be secured to the floor.
  • Area Rugs  – even those your mother made.  You can use tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape.
  • Wax – use the non-skid kind.


Can you move safely in and out of your tub or shower?

  • Soap Build-up – clean it off at once a month.
  • Non-slip Strips – Put them in this week.
  • Shower Heads — Install adjustable height heads.
  • Grab Bars — at the bath and shower, by the toilet, and at key spots on the walls
  • Tell your handyman you don’t want them coming loose, so to reinforce their mountings.
  • Hold your bath mats in place with non-slip, double-sided rug tape.


  • Nightlights — Put them in your bathroom, your hall, your bedroom, and your stairs.
  • Light Switches – Have your handyman install them at both the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Lamp — Place one near your bed and put your telephone close by.
  • Dark Spaces – Add enough lights that each room is evenly lit.



  • Walks – Repair  any holes and even out the joints.BrokenWalk
  • Leaves – Sweep them off your stairs and walks.
  • Snow & Ice – If you are not blessed by living here in Lower Alabama, pay a local teenager to clear them from your stairs and walks. Spread salt or sand in winter.
  • Lighting – Make sure it’s still working in entries and walk areas.
  • Handrails Again – Put them on both sides of your steps and make sure they are secure and unbroken.

These precautions will reduce your risk of falling at home. Some you can do yourself, and some may require you to hire a handyman, carpenter, or electrician. To learn about critical repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners, click on Rebuilding Together.

See also Falls at Home – Let’s Talk Prevention

Disclaimer – This column is for information and education only and is not intended to substitute for seeing a medical provider for healthcare attention. This website does not diagnose or treat any medical diseases, disorders, ailments, etc., or otherwise practice medicine. Always consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes or embarking on or managing any medical or psychiatric problems. Dr. Buckmaster does not receive funding from any pharmaceutical company, but is a self-reliant, independent, solo-practicing physician.
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