Ten Tips for Preventing Falls at Home

Author: Jeanne Seltzer
A Home Health worker smiles while helping a male patient with his walker

A simple fall for an older adult can land them in the hospital, and can lead to complications such as the need for hip surgery. As we get older, falls can become more common for a number of reasons, including the side effects of medications that may cause dizziness, a sudden drop in blood pressure, or even something overlooked like a scatter rug. Jennifer Bianchi, Physical Therapist and Clinical Rehabilitation Manager for Hebrew SeniorLife Home Health, has 10 great tips for preventing falls: 

  1. Examine the rugs 
    Rugs, especially small throw rugs are a falling hazard. Any rug can easily get caught in a person’s walker, and if they don’t use a walker, a rug can act as an easy tripping mechanism. If you’re attached to a beautiful area rug, try securing the edges to prevent tripping. 
  2. Wear appropriate footwear 
    Wear closed-toe and closed-back shoes with an appropriate sole that fit you properly. If you wear slippers, make sure they have a nonskid sole. Avoid wearing just socks, even hospital socks, as the tread can wear out. 
  3. Add adaptive equipment 
    Here are some simple adaptive equipment items that may prevent a fall, including:
    • Grab bars to help getting in and out of the shower.
    • A shower chair. These include several styles, including a bench seat to slide over into the shower.
    • Grab bars near your toilet.
    • Raised toilet seat or over-the-toilet commode that includes handles.
    • Railings on both sides of the stairs.
    • Chair lift if the person is having a lot of difficulty with the stairs.
  4. Nightlights 
    Nightlights that kick on at night can keep a person safe from falling when they get up.
  5. Keep things within reach in the kitchen 
    Keep routinely used items within reach in the kitchen. Avoid step stools, a common cause of falls. Put things at counter height if possible. 
  6. Proper bed height 
    Your feet should be flat when you sit on the bed to avoid falls getting in and out of bed. If your mattress is too high, consider a “low-profile box spring.” 
  7. Stay hydrated 
    Staying hydrated is important—to prevent dizziness or a drop in blood pressure, which can cause a fall when you change position
  8. Maintain your annual eye exam. 
    Changes in your eyesight can contribute to a fall, so have your eyes checked once a year.
  9. Understand your medications 
    Medications can have side effects, such as dizziness. It’s good to monitor and understand these possible side effects, as they can affect your balance. 
  10. Exercise 
    Keep moving. Whatever movement you can do, even simple walking, may help prevent falls.

Hebrew SeniorLife Home Health professionals are trained to evaluate each client’s risk for falls, and suggest modifications to increase safety at home. If you or your loved one need home care after an illness, hospitalization, or injury, learn more about our services.

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About Jeanne Seltzer

Development Communications Manager

Jeanne Seltzer is a Development Communications Manager at Hebrew SeniorLife, where she focuses on creating development and marketing communications. Jeanne has a background in journalism, fundraising communications, and marketing communications. She has written for American Public Television, WGBH, Boston Magazine...

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