When illness, injury, or age compromise balance, strength, and vision, the risk of falling, even at home, increases. The good news is that many home modifications can be made to reduce the risk of falling, including the following:
The number one, cheapest and easiest modification you can make to your home is to stop storing stuff on the floor. Take a look around and notice everything that’s sitting on the floor, including books, baskets, dog beds, cords, plants, and more. All this clutter creates a tripping hazard. Clear the floors; get it all up and out. And make sure all your pathways are clear and open. That might involve moving some furniture, but the added safety is worth the effort.
- Get rid of rugs
While we’re on the subject of clearing floors, it’s worth mentioning rugs specifically. Rugs are so easy to trip over; you’ve probably stumbled over yours this week. It’s best to get rid of all the rugs. If you must have one, make sure it has a no-slip bottom and that the edges are smooth and not curling up.
- Address uneven surfaces
Poor vision, impaired depth perception, and a shuffling gait can result in tripping over uneven surfaces such as rugs, transitions between floorings, low thresholds, and uneven walkways. You can address these issues in multiple ways, depending on the circumstances.
- Make repairs
- Remove rugs
- Install consistent flooring
- Install threshold ramps
- Use high-contrast rugs that are easier to see
- Add light
Another way to help folks avoid tripping hazards is to illuminate them. Always let as much natural light into your space as possible. Add lighting to dark hallways, motion-sensitive lights anywhere you need them, and always install extra lighting on stairs.
- Take a look at the bathroom
Bathrooms are a common area for falls. You can have an attractive, safe, stylish bathroom by utilizing the wide range of available products. You can prevent problems by installing raised toilet seats that are easier for people with mobility challenges to use. Deal with the rugs and add extra lighting, as mentioned earlier. Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or tub. Swap out the tub for a zero-entry shower or a walk-in model.
- Consider the steps
Steps are a big hurdle for folks living at home with illness or age. When just a few steps are the problem, wheelchair ramps for steps are a great option, even when wheelchairs aren’t needed yet, as ramps are much safer to travel on than stairs. Lights can help with visibility, as can brightly colored painter’s tape attached to the edge of each step. In some cases, you might also want to consider installing a stairlift to provide a safe, smooth, trip-free ride up and down the stairs.
Making your home safe from tripping hazards doesn’t require a significant remodel. These changes can be made this weekend at little or no cost. Get started today.