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self-sssessment of fall-risk in the home

by Rein Tideiksaar, PhD

Use this checklist to determine your own level of risk for falling in your home.

Do you have difficulty or trouble...? Suggested Solutions
Walking about your home?
  • Keep "traffic lanes" free of clutter and obstacles, allow plenty of walking room.
  • Make sure all rooms have sufficient lighting.
  • Remove slippery scatter and throw rugs or use rubber pads to keep them in place.
  • Secure all carpet edges.
  • Wear shoes and slippers with non-slip soles that grip the floor.
  • Consider using a cane to help maintain balance.
Walking to the bathroom at night?
  • Install nightlights in the bedroom and bathroom
  • Keep a light within reach of the bed.
  • Keep a clear path from the bedroom to the bathroom
 Getting up from chairs?
  • Use sturdy chairs with armrests to help get up and sit down.
  • Add firm foam pads to seats of chairs and sofas to help get up.
Getting up from beds?
  • Move beds against the wall to prevent the bed from sliding away when getting up.
  • Replace existing mattress with one thinner in width to lower bed height or thicker in width to raise bed height.
  • Use a handrail to assist with getting up from bed.
Getting up from toilets?
  • Consider an elevated toilet seat and grab bars to help sit down and get up.
Getting in and out of bathtubs or showers?
  • Consider using a tub / shower chair and grab bars to help get in and out. Towel bars are not designed to be used as grab bars.
  • Place nonskid rubber mats or decals on the floor to prevent slipping.
Getting objects from kitchen cabinets and closet shelves?
  • Store everyday dishes and kitchen supplies within easy reach. Consider keeping items no lower than waist level or no higher than shoulder height to avoid excessive bending, stooping or reaching.
  • If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.
Walking up and down steps or stairs?
  • Don't rush when climbing up or down stairs. Take your time and look directly at each step.
  • Don't carry large packages or baskets that obstruct your vision when going up or down stairs.
  • Watch were you are stepping when using stairs, place your foot firmly on the steps.
  • Don't place items on stair steps, these can create a hazard when going up or down a staircase.
  • Add hand rails to all steps and stairs, if possible. Using hand rails to go up and down steps and stairs is easier and safer.
  • Consider installing extra lighting at the top and bottom steps; many falls are due to not seeing steps properly.

Posted May 2010


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