Apr 30

We often discuss fall prevention for seniors and older adults and have offered dozens of ways to make the home safer. It’s an important topic. It all boils down to tripping, slipping, and falling.

Here are three problem areas and solutions for seniors to prevent tripping, slipping, and falling:

1. Prevent Tripping – Remove Loose Carpets From Walkways

Loose rugs, carpets, and even electrical cords and cables may seem necessary but they are a main cause of people tripping in the home.

Slipping Tripping Falling

In this hallway there is not one but two throw rugs in the main walking area of the home. Tacking them down might help but if the foot hits on the exact edge, they won’t give and could cause a fall for sure. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid using these types of carpets. If you’re concerned about carpet stains, try treating the carpet with a stain protector like Scotch Guard in frequently traveled areas of the home.

Cost to implement: It costs nothing to remove loose carpets and next to nothing for fabric protector.

2. Prevent Slipping – Use Shower Strips or Bath Mats in the Bathroom

Bathrooms are where we find most slipping accidents because the shower floors are wet. Bathroom floors outside of the shower can be wet too.

The best way to prevent slipping in the shower is to use a bath mat or non-slip shower strips. Grab bars are essential but they just give you something to grab if you do slip. Prevent slipping from ever happening by adding a non-slip surface to the floor.

Slips Trips Falls

Outside the shower, bathroom floors become wet from water leaving the shower or tub. Here it is okay to use a throw carpet such as a towel-type bath mat. It will give you something to step on as you get out of the shower to absorb the water. For a walk-in shower, shower dams can be installed at the threshold to keep water in the shower area.

Collapsible Water Retainer Shower Dam

Cost to implement: Cheap. Bath mats and shower strips costs less than $20. Collapsible shower dams cost a little more but they work well at keeping water in the shower and make cleaning the bathroom floors easier.

3. Prevent Falling – Add Handrails to Outside Steps and Walkways

Walkways in and out of the home with just a few steps can be the major cause of falling, especially for older adults who have trouble seeing. Make sure these areas are well lit at night and each step is clearly visible.

Outside Step Railing

Here is an outside entrance we modified by adding a wooden handrail. As you can see, the steps all look the same and it’s difficult to see where one step ends and the next begins. To make this more problematic, the steps were made of stone with hard, sharp edges. Falling on these steps could be a disaster. The area was also very wide and there was only a handrail on one side.

Railing on Stairs

We matched the wood and color and extended it all the way across the front of the house making the entire porch safe from falls. A second handrail leading up the steps offered two areas to hold on to for added safety. The result looks great and matches the home perfectly.

Cost to implement: It depends on the size and style needed. If you have a large area to cover and need custom wood or iron railings it can be costly. But it’s also possible to have it done without spending more than a few hundred dollars. Not only is it worth it, it can be an attractive add-on to your home.

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