Preventing Falls

Preventing FallsBecause anyone can have a bad fall, the following suggestions are worth considering regardless of your age.

  • If you need glasses, wear them, but never walk around with glasses on that are meant only for reading. Take them off before moving around.
  • Use a walking stick or cane if you are even slightly unsteady on your feet. Do not hesitate to use a walker or support frame outdoors, as well as in the house, if you feel safer or your physician recommends one.
  • Wear well-fitted shoes with low heels or slippers with non-slip soles. Avoid long shoelaces that can easily come undone and trip you.
  • Make sure carpets and other floor covering are secured around the edges. Never use loose mats and rugs on shiny, polished floors.
  • Illuminate potentially hazardous areas such as stairs. White or very light-colored paint on either side of a flight of stairs can help.
  • Strong banisters running along all indoor and outdoor steps are essential. One should be installed wherever such a support is not already in place or use an alternate route.
  • Have a bedside lamp or low-wattage night light in your bedroom so that you never have to grope around in the dark when getting out of bed at night. Power-outage lights that come on automatically come in handy when the power fails.
  • Fit secure handrails in convenient places near the bathtub and toilet and use non-slip mats both inside and alongside every bath or shower.
  • Minimize floor clutter in rooms and eliminate anything on or near stairways. Children's toys can be especially hazardous.
  • Secure electrical appliance cords to moldings or walls whenever possible. Do not let them run loosely across the floor.
  • Store frequently-used clothing and other items in places you can reach without standing on a stool or chair. If you must climb up to get something, use a stable stepladder or sturdy chair. Better still, get someone to do the reaching for you.
  • Use a broomstick or long dowel to test your smoke detectors.

Fall Hazards Checklist


  • Door threshold is not too high
  • Skid-proof mats or strips in tub or shower
  • Toilet and tub grab bars securely fastened where needed
  • Toilet height is correct


  • Bed height is appropriate
  • Nightlights and/or bedside light available for safe movement
  • Pathway from bedroom to bathroom unobstructed
  • Bed mattresses provide good support while sitting on edge
  • Floors are non-slip and clutter-free
  • Commonly used items on closet shelves can be reached easily


  • Floor is not slippery
  • Storage areas are easily reached
  • Chairs are wheel-free and at the right height for sitting down and rising from easily
  • Step stools are sturdy and treads are slip-resistant

General Interior

  • Light switches are accessible when entering room
  • Lights are bright enough
  • Stairways are adequately lighted
  • Stair handrails are securely installed
  • Telephones are accessible in order to call for assistance
  • Furniture is secure enough to provide support if leaned upon


  • Step surfaces are non-slip
  • Step edges are visually marked to avoid tripping
  • Steps are in good repair
  • Walkways are slip- and trip-free
  • Outdoor light is sufficient for nighttime activities