Falls should be a major concern for any home with an older adult or person with mobility issues, as they can lead to severe injury and even death. These kinds of accidents can also have significant financial consequences due to medical expenses or lost wages. 

Fortunately, there are numerous products available that are designed to prevent falls in the home. This post provides an overview of fall prevention devices and strategies to make your home safer and minimize your risk. 

Risks and Consequences of Falls at Home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every five falls results in a serious injury, such as a broken bone or head injury. In fact, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults in the United States.

Common causes of falls in the home include slippery surfaces, clutter, uneven flooring, and poor lighting. The health consequences of falls can range from minor bruises and cuts to more serious injuries like fractures, concussions, and even traumatic brain injuries. Making matters worse, falls can also lead to a loss of independence and decreased quality of life.

The financial consequences of falls can be substantial. According to the CDC, the total medical costs for falls in the United States exceeded $50 billion in recent years. These costs include hospitalizations, emergency room visits, rehabilitation services, and long-term care.

Identifying Fall Hazards in the Home

In order to prevent falls in your home, take the time to identify potential hazards. Common fall hazards include:

  • Stairs and steps — Uneven or poorly lit stairs can be particularly dangerous.
  • Slippery surfaces — Wet or polished floors, as well as loose rugs, can cause slips and falls.
  • Clutter and trip hazards — Objects left on the floor or stairs can lead to trips and falls.
  • Poor lighting — Insufficient lighting can make it difficult to see obstacles or changes in flooring.
  • Outdoor hazards — Uneven walkways, slippery surfaces, and poor lighting can contribute to falls outdoors.
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Fall Prevention Devices and Solutions

Once you have identified potential fall hazards in your home, take the next step by implementing fall prevention devices and strategies. Some of the most effective solutions include:

Handrails and Grab Bars

Installing handrails and grab bars in key areas of your home can provide stability and support, reducing the risk of falls. Consider installing these devices:

  • Along staircases or any step inside or outside the home
  • In the bathroom (near the toilet, bathtub, and shower)
  • In the kitchen (near the sink and stove)

When choosing handrails and grab bars, look for sturdy materials such as stainless steel or aluminum. Be sure to install them securely to wall studs or other structural supports. For maximum safety, hire a professional to install them for you.

Non-slip Mats and Flooring

Non-slip mats and flooring can help prevent slips on wet or slippery surfaces. Some options include:

  • Rubber or silicone mats for the bathroom
  • Non-slip rug pads for area rugs
  • Slip-resistant flooring materials like textured tile, vinyl, or cork

Place non-slip mats in high-risk areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, and entryways.

Stair Treads

Installing stair treads to your stairs provides additional traction and reduces the risk of slips and falls. Stair treads are available in a variety of materials including rubber, carpet, and vinyl. When installing stair treads, ensure they are securely attached and cover the entire width of each step.

Always make sure your stairs are well-lit and free of clutter to further improve safety.

Lighting Improvements

Improving the lighting in your home can make it easier to see potential hazards and navigate safely. Consider installing:

  • Motion-sensor lights — These lights automatically turn on when movement is detected, making them ideal for hallways, staircases, and entryways.
  • Nightlights — Placing nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways can help improve visibility during nighttime hours.
  • Pathway lighting — Outdoor pathway lights can illuminate walkways and steps, reducing the risk of falls.

Assistive Devices for Mobility

For those who have difficulty with mobility, assistive devices like canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters can help reduce the risk of falls. Choose the appropriate device based on your needs and consult with a healthcare professional to make sure you’re using the most appropriate option.

Outdoor Safety Devices

Making outdoor areas safer is just as important as addressing indoor hazards. Consider installing:

  • Outdoor handrails — Add handrails along outdoor staircases and ramps to provide support and prevent falls.
  • Non-slip outdoor surfaces — Use slip-resistant materials for walkways, decks, and patios to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
  • Lighting – Add lighting at entrance ways, along walkways and at parking areas to allow residents and guests to enter and exit safely.  

Making Lifestyle Changes for Fall Prevention

In addition to implementing fall prevention devices in your home, making certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping to reduce the risk of falls. Some of the most effective adjustments you can make include:

  • Regular exercise — Activities like walking, swimming, or yoga can help improve strength, balance, and coordination.
  • Medication review — Talk to your doctor about any medications you take that may cause dizziness and increase your risk of falls, such as sedatives or blood pressure medications.
  • Vision checks — Regular eye exams can help ensure your vision is as clear as possible, reducing the risk of falls due to poor vision.
  • Footwear — Choose shoes with non-slip soles, proper support, and a secure fit to reduce the risk of falls.

Find Support at Omicelo Health

By identifying fall hazards in your home and implementing these fall prevention devices and strategies, you can create a safer environment for yourself and your family. Remember that reducing the risk of falls is an ongoing process that requires regular evaluation and adjustments as needed. Stay vigilant and prioritize safety to enjoy a happier, healthier home.

If you have questions or would like some guidance for slip-proofing your home, contact the team at Omicelo Health. Our mission is to help homeowners like you with home modifications that ensure a safe, long-lasting living environment, particularly for older adults. 

Contact us today to learn more.