Falls are a serious concern for aging adults. And, as most serious falls occur in or around the home, it’s extremely important to take the necessary precautions to making your or your loved one’s home as safe and fall-proof as possible. This room-by-room buyer’s guide can help steer you towards the products you’ll need.
Before we begin...
Three things you want to keep in mind during the fall-proofing process are lighting, clutter, and easy access. You want to keep the house well-lit and free of clutter and miscellaneous items, with the items you use every day in easy-to-reach and accessible places.
Also keep in mind that you always want to have at least 3 points of contact to a stable surface wherever you are. If you’re walking up stairs, for example, make sure to have two feet on the stairs and at least one hand on a handrail. These are your 3 points of contact—foot, foot, hand.
Now that we’ve given some background, let’s get into the room-by-room guide of a few products that can help make your home a little safer.
- Stabilization rail. When getting out of the shower, one foot will be lifted up, so be sure to have two hands on a secure surface to maintain the 3 points of contact rule. A stabilization rail like this one can provide this needed stability. This rail mounts on the side of your bathtub for easy maneuvering in and out of the bathing area, a common place for falls.
You can also choose to install grab bars along the sides of your bathtub for added points of support. This Carex Grab Bar is a great choice.
- Anti-slip bathtub mat. An anti-slip mat, like this one, can help prevent the most basic falls in the bathtub. This mat secures itself with hundreds of suction cups to the bottom of your bathtub, providing a soft, secure, anti-slip surface in your tub, helping to prevent falls while showering.
- Shower chair. For even more security while showering, a shower chair like this one might be a good choice. This chair is anti-slip, comfortable, and comes in a standard size, so it can fit easily into your shower or bathtub.
- Non-slip matting. This non-slip matting material is excellent for kitchens. You can cut the material to any size and length you like, so it can fit any room dimensions. Place this non-slip material near the sink and dishwasher, as well as along common paths through the kitchen, to prevent slipping on commonly slick areas. This material can also be helpful in the bathroom alongside the sink or bathtub floor areas. The matting can be used alone or attached to the bottoms of non-secure kitchen/bathroom mats to stabilize them.
- Keep your most frequently used items in accessible places. Move dishes, glasses, and commonly-used cooking materials down to lower shelves. This will help avoid the need to use chairs or stools to reach things—which also lowers your risk for falling from an unstable perch.
- Non-slip matting. Just like in the kitchen, non-slip matting will help you maintain your balance when walking along hardwood, linoleum, tile, or other smooth/slick surfaces that are common in hallways and kitchens. Here is another option for non-slip matting material.
- Check your lighting. Make sure your bulbs are all adequately bright, illuminating the entire hallway, and are the correct wattage. Do not attempt to change or inspect the bulbs on your own—ask for assistance in everything involving heights, even if it’s just a step-stool’s height.
- Move lights, phone, and other necessities within arm’s reach. Having a lamp and a means of communication near the bedside will help you have better visibility as well as give you the peace of mind that comes when you know your loved ones (and medical assistance, if necessary!) are only a call away if you need anything.
- Bed rail. A bed rail, like this one, will help prevent you from rolling off the bed in the night.
- Bedside mat. If a bed rail isn’t for you, but you still feel like there is a possibility that you could fall off the bed, perhaps a bedside mat like this one is the solution for you. It’s discrete enough that you can stow it underneath your bed in the daytime, pulling it out only just before you go to bed. It’s slim and sturdy enough that it’s easy to store and conceal, but will effectively soften your fall if you are prone to tossing and turning in the night.
We hope this buyers’ guide was helpful in your search to make your home a little safer and more fall-proof! Please note that these products might not fit in everyone’s lifestyle or living situation and that there may be other products that work better for you that are not listed. Please feel free to use this as a jumping-off point for your falls-prevention product search—it is not necessarily an exhaustive or all-inclusive list.