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Tips from a PT: How to Fall-Proof Your Home

Tips from a PT: How to Fall-Proof Your Home

by Kathleen Habschmidt PT, DPTLeave a Comment

Unfortunately, thousands of older adults aged 65 and older sustain a fall each year. Many falls lead to injuries that vary in severity. Falls can happen anywhere, but the majority of them occur in the home. Our homes can be full of hidden hazards. One way to reduce you or a loved one’s risk of falling is to fall-proof your home. For elderly families that may be visiting during the upcoming holidays, these helpful tips can keep everyone safe.

Lighting

  • All rooms and hallways should be well-lit and have clear pathways free of clutter and furniture.
  • Lighting should be bright and easily accessible when entering a room. Nightlights should be placed in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways. Flashlights should be easily accessible.

Bathrooms/Bedrooms

  • Bathrooms should have grab bars in and around the tub/shower and next to the toilet if needed. Because floors can be slippery, non-slip rubber mats or strips on the surface of the tub/floor can help with footing and gripping with stepping and transfers. Assistive devices such as shower chairs or raised toilet seats can reduce fatigue and improve stability with transfers.
  • The bedroom should have easy access to lighting and lamps. The path to the bathroom should be clear, and the proper assistive device should be readily available at night in case of emergency when getting out of bed.

Kitchen/Stairs/Floors

  • The kitchen should have frequently used readily reachable items to avoid stressing your body to reach or using a step stool.
  • Stairs should have handrails if possible, be well-lit with easy access to light switches, and be free of clutter.
  • Floors in the home should have well-secured rugs that aren’t loose to wrinkle up. Carpeting should be in good condition and not fraying or worn and torn. Floors should be clutter and cord-free.

Additional Recommendations to Reduce Falls and Improve Safety in Your Home

  • Wearing comfortable, secure shoes with solid gripping in your home.
  • Cleaning up any wet floors as soon as possible.
  • Watching and staying aware of pets when moving throughout your home.
  • Using handrails when carrying items up and downstairs.
  • Getting up slowly from a chair or bed.
  • Using any necessary assistive devices when walking – cane, crutches, walker, wheelchair, etc.
  • Having 24/7 access to a wearable fall detection device or cellphone in case of fall.

Reach Out to a Physical Therapist

If you feel you are at risk for falls, make an appointment to meet with a physical therapist. Physical therapists are skilled in detecting your fall risk and can create a fall prevention program customized to you.

When a fall has already happened, in-home physical therapy may be a great first step to prevent future falls. Home physical therapy can focus on balance and strength training to improve ambulating and maneuvering throughout the home. A home physical therapist is skilled in assessing a patient’s home for potential fall risks and can help rearrange a patient’s home as necessary.

To schedule a Home Therapy Appointment, visit www.athletico.com/HomeTherapy, and our Virtual Agent Margie® will get you started! You can also give us a call at 877-ATHLETICO (284-5384), press 3 for Home Therapy, or email us at HomeTherapy@athletico.com.

Learn More About Home Therapy

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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Home TherapyPhysical RehabilitationPhysical Therapyfall preventionfall-proof home

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