FALLS: Making you home safer

Keeping an eye out for things that could cause you to slip, trip or fall can make your home a safer place to live in. Some of these points may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how often they can be overlooked – so it’s worth checking them.

This feature is taken from Age UK’s “Staying Steady” leaflet (download pdf file)

  • Do you have good lighting, particularly on the stairs?
  • Do you have a nightlight in the bedroom or a torch by the bed in case you need to get up in the night?
  • Are your floors clear of trailing flexes, wrinkled or fraying carpets, or anything else that you might trip or slip on?
  • Does your pet wear a collar with a bell on? Pets are wonderful companions, but they can get under your feet. Be aware of where they are when you’re moving about.
  • Are your stairs and steps free of clutter?
  • Do you have handrails on both sides of your stairs?
  • Do you have a non-slip mat in the bath and a fitted handrail?
  • Do you have non-slip mats under rugs, in the kitchen, on stair landings and next to the bath?
  • Do you always use a stepladder to reach high places? Always ask someone to help if you’re using a ladder and never stand on a chair.
  • Do you keep your garden paths clear and free from moss? Watch out for uneven paths and slippery surfaces as well. Carefully placed handrails and posts can be helpful if you need them.
  • Avoid tasks such as cleaning windows or changing a light bulb if they make you feel dizzy or light-headed.
  • Mop up any spills straight away so they won’t cause you to slip.
  • Move your head slowly to avoid dizziness if you have arthritis in your spine or neck.
  • Keep warm. Cold muscles don’t work as well as warm ones and may lead to accidents and injuries.
  • Take your time getting up, and then stand still for a moment to steady yourself before walking. Sitting or standing up too quickly can make you feel light-headed. Tensing your arms and legs a few times before getting up from a chair, or sitting on the side of the bed for a few minutes before standing up, can be helpful.
  • Speak to your GP if you need to use furniture for support when moving around your homeMaking small adjustments in your daily life doesn’t mean that you have to limit your activities. In fact, it can give you greater freedom and confidence.

    For more advice on avoiding falls and ways to improve your balance and strength, download Age UK’s “Staying Steady” leaflet (pdf file)

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