Throughout the House continued...
12. Wear the right shoes. Wear shoes with low, broad heels, non-slip soles, and good support for the ankles. Avoid wearing just socks or floppy, backless slippers around the house.
13. Keep floors clean but not slippery. If you wax your floors, this is a good time to stop. Floors should be smooth, but not slick. Clean up spills on floors immediately -- even with your foot and a towel, if necessary. And don’t walk on wet floors.
14. Rearrange furniture. Moving furniture can prevent falls and freshen up a room. Pay attention to how you move around in a room. Move any piece of furniture that might be in your way when you walk, especially low furniture such as coffee tables, footstools, and ottomans.
15. Buy a reacher. These inexpensive devices, available at hardware and medical supply stores, can serve a number of functions. They can help you reach something up high and pick up things off the floor. Some can help put on socks.
16. Make getting up easier. Sinking into your comfy old chair may feel good, but it can be a problem when it’s time to get up. Falls often happen when people struggle to get out of chairs and sofas. Try elevating your chair or putting extra pillows on a soft couch so you don’t sink to the back, where it’s more difficult to get up.
17. Get the right chair. If getting out of your old chair is still a struggle, consider purchasing an electric high-low chair or another more suitable chair. “A good chair has strong back support and arms that ideally extend just beyond the legs of the chair so you have support getting up and aren’t catapulted into having to walk,” Pynoos tells WebMD.
18. Light the way. Poor lighting is often a factor in falls, especially for older adults. If you live in an older house without an abundance of electrical outlets or overhead room lights, consider installing the following:
- light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and at both ends of a long hallway
- ceiling fixtures
- switches that can be turned on as you enter a dark room
- motion-sensitive lighting
- nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and stairways
- more task lighting, if necessary
19. Use rugs safely. If you are going to have carpeting, keep this in mind:
- Low-pile commercial-grade carpeting is good. Shag carpeting is bad.
- Tape or tack down all rugs or carpeting, and be careful when stepping over the edges.
- If you can’t part with a special rug, consider hanging it on the wall. Then you can enjoy its beauty without the risks.
20. Create “control stations.” Set up a few spots to keep necessary items where you tend to be most. On the nightstand in your bedroom, for example, you might put a flashlight with batteries, a phone (preferably cordless), and a lamp with easy-reach controls. Near your favorite chair, you might have a good task lamp, a phone, a place for magazines or books, and a glass of water. Just don’t create a new fall hazard with wires or clutter.
21. Get help with home modifications. If you’d like to have your home assessed for safety and what modifications are most important, ask your doctor about having an occupational therapist do a home visit. Many local Area Agencies on Aging offer home assessment services or can direct you to someone who does. If you are a low-income homeowner, the national organization Rebuilding Together provides repairs and modifications.