Make your home safe to reduce the chances of falls

You can take the following steps to reduce your risk of falling:

  • Remove any obstacles from your walking path and fix anything in your house that may cause you to fall. Household hazards that can cause falls include slippery floors, poor lighting, cluttered walkways, throw rugs, raised doorway thresholds, and electrical cords. Keep furniture or other items that have sharp edges away from normal pathways through your house.
  • Use nonskid floor wax, and wipe up spills immediately.
  • Have your vision and hearing checked regularly. If you have poor vision or hearing, you may lose important cues that help you avoid objects and keep your balance.
  • Know the side effects of medications you are taking. Ask your health professional or pharmacist whether the medications you are taking can affect your sense of balance. For instance, sleeping pills or sedatives can affect your balance.
  • Check the condition of your shoes on a regular basis. Wear low-heeled shoes that fit well and give your feet good support. Check the heels and soles of your shoes for wear. Repair or replace worn heels or soles. Call your health professional if you think you have corns or calluses on your feet that need to be removed. If you wear loose-fitting shoes because of corns or calluses, you can lose your balance and fall. Wear slippers or shoes with nonskid soles.
  • Take precautions when you go outdoors. Use a cane or walker as needed. If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter, have a family member or friend sprinkle salt or sand on slippery steps and sidewalks.
  • Use assistive devices in the bathroom, such as bathtub bars or bars beside the toilet.

Last Updated: August 4, 2008

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