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SENIORS SAFETY

Fall Prevention Checklist

How to Use The Checklist

Below you will find a list of areas in and around your home.  For each area, we have identified the most common fall hazards and provided safety tips for reducing and/or removing those hazards. As you go through each room, write out any changes and/or repairs that need to be completed then make a plan to implement the needed changes. Keep in mind that this guide does not list every potential fall risk in your home. Your house may have unique hazards because of your lifestyle. For example, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking and cooking, there may be further precautions you will need to take.

You can either click on a picture to see tips for that area of the house or scroll down to see the entire checklist.

You can also download a printable version of the guide by clicking here. (PDF)

Living Room & Bedroom

Do your floor rugs and mats have non-skid backing on them?

  • Install non-skid backing on them to prevent them from sliding when they are being walked on.

Do you have emergency lighting in the living room?

  • It is extremely difficult to get around when the power goes out, especially at night.  Keep a flashlight in an easy to find spot and install rechargeable, motion-sensing lights.

Are there clear walking paths to the exits?

  • Furniture should be arranged so it is easy to navigate around the room, especially in the dark.

Are your traffic areas clear of wires and cables?

  • Use a cord protector to cover wires that run through high traffic areas.
  • Switch to a cordless telephone to reduce loose wires.
  • Move lamps and other devices closer to plug-ins so the cords do not need to stretch or lay across high traffic areas.

Basement & Laundry

Is your laundry room organized?

  • Place a non-slip mat in front of your washing machine to prevent slipping on water.
  • Have a table where you can set your laundry basket for easy lifting and clothing transfer.
  • Ensure that water flows naturally towards the floor drain. Call a professional immediately if you notice pools of water.
  • Many laundry rooms are in storage areas or furnace rooms with open piping and wires.  Make sure you can navigate the room safety while carrying your laundry items.

Additional basement fall prevention tips:

  • You should always be able to walk to your breaker box, furnace, and other appliances without any obstructions in the way.
  • Do not place objects at the bottom of the basement stairs.

Stairs & Hallways

Are your stairways and hallways well lit?

  • Install a light switch at the top and bottom of each stairway so you are never using the stairs in the dark.
  • Keep a flashlight near the stairs to help you see at night and during emergencies.

Do your stairs provide proper walking support?

  • Install hand rails on both sides of the stairway.  Have a professional install them to ensure they are the correct height and properly secured.
  • Place non-slip stair treads on wood and laminate stairs.

Are your stairs in good condition?

  • If your stairs squeak, bend, or feel loose when you walk on them, call a professional to inspect them and make any necessary repairs.

Are your stairways and hallways free of hazards?

  • Never place items at the top or bottom of stairways or on any steps.
  • Hallways should always be free of clutter.
  • If you have rugs in your hallway, install non-skid backing on them to prevent them from sliding.
  • Never carry more than you can handle up or down stairs.

Outside the Home

Are walkways clear of objects and in good condition?

  • Put all yard tools back in their proper storage when finished with them.
  • Keep garden hoses rolled up.
  • Remove snow as soon as possible to prevent ice build up and keep ice melt at each doorway for easy access.
  • Have cracks and/or broken portions of walkways repaired.

Is your garage organized and clutter-free?

  • Store tools off of the floor and out of the main walk paths.
  • Store heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Install additional lighting that is motion sensing or automatically come on when the garage door opens.

Additional outside the home fall prevention tips:

  • Cut your grass on a regular basis.  Tall grass can hide trip hazards.
  • Ensure walkways your front and back door are properly lit. Solar lights are a great solution.
  • Use cordless mowers and garden tools to avoid running an extension cord around the yard.

Bathroom

Is your bathtub and/or shower equipped for fall prevention?

  • Place a non-slip bath mat on the floor of your bathtub/shower.  It should run the length of the surface.
  • Install a grab bar in a place that helps you get in and out of the bathtub.  Make sure they are secured into wall studs.
  • Use a shower organizer to help organize soaps, shampoos and other bath products. This will avoid bending over to reach them.
  • If you have mobility problems, consider using a safety chair in the bathtub.  If you do, consult a physician and/or a mobility specialty store in order to help you pick the right chair.

Does your bathroom have proper lighting?

  • Install a rechargeable motion-sensing light to help you see at night or during a power outage.

Additional bathroom fall prevention tips:

  • If you experience problems getting up from the toilet, consider an adjustable seat or a wall-mounted toilet that can be hung at any height.
  • Place a non-slip mat outside the bathtub and in front of the vanity to contain any spilled water.
  • Make sure you are completely dry before leaving the bathroom.  Tracking water into other rooms greatly increases fall risks.

Kitchen

Are your kitchen items properly stored?

  • Place your most used pots, pans, plates, etc. in cupboards and on shelves that are at or near chest level to make them easily accessible.
  • Keep your large, heavy items in lower cupboards and lighter items in higher ones.  This makes it easier on your back and large items will not fall on you if you lose your grip (remember: always lift with your legs).

Are your cupboards and drawers in good working condition?

  • Fix any cupboard doors and drawers that do not open and/or close properly.
  • If possible, renovate your cabinet doors and drawers with ability to soft-close.  This helps close them the last few inches if you don’t push hard enough.

Is there enough lighting in your kitchen?

  • Kitchens are full of dangerous objects that can harm you if you fall. Make sure your light is strong enough to illuminate all areas of the floor.

Additional kitchen fall prevention tips:

  • Keep a CSA approved step stool in the kitchen and use it to reach high places.  Never use a chair or pull yourself up on to the counter.
  • Place a non-slip mat in front of your kitchen sink to trap spilled liquids.
  • Use a long-handled mop to clean up spills.  This will give you more stability and avoid walking in the spill.

General

Know your limits.

  • Over-stretching to grab something off of a shelf or lifting an object that is too heavy greatly increases your risk of a fall.
  • Exercise regularly. It will help keep your muscles strong which is key to maintaining balance and coordination.
  • Have your vision checked at least once per year.  Poor vision greatly increases your risk of falling.
  • If you aren’t feeling well, take extra time to do your tasks throughout the day and rest whenever you need to.

Understand your health.

  • If you have a medical condition that makes you more prone to falls, consider wearing an emergency alarm device.
  • Talk with your pharmacist to understand prescription and over-the-counter medication side effects.  Take extra precautions with ones that make you sleepy or dizzy.
  • If you have mobility problems, talk to you doctor about mobility aids such as canes, rollators, and stair lifts.

Miscellaneous

  • If you have to run power cords a long distance or you need to use an extension cord, have an additional electrical outlet installed near the objects instead.
  • Keep items away from main entrances to ensure ease of access both in and out.  This will also ensure emergency first responders can get to you quickly if needed.
  • If you aren’t getting enough light, increase the wattage of your light bulb if the fixture supports it or install a new fixture that can.
  • Always use a step-ladder to change a light bulb.  Ask for assistance if you can’t safely reach the fixture.
  • Vacuum on a regular basis to keep from stepping small and/or sharp objects such as pins or broken glass.
  • Keep a list of the following emergency numbers near each of your phones:
    • Doctor
    • Immediate family members
    • Fire and Police department
    • Healthline 8-1-1
  • If you have an immediate emergency, DIAL 9-1-1

If you find a hazard that requires a professional to repair, the Government of Saskatchewan's Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority has a guide for hiring a contractor. The information in this guide will help you choose someone that will treat you fairly and with respect. You can also use this to help you hire a specialized professional such as a plumber or electrician.

Click here to view the FCAA guide.

Work Together

Maintaining a safe home environment cannot be done alone.  Some of these suggestions require more than one person or need the abilities of a professional, such as an electrician or carpenter, to complete the task safely.  Your friends and family are your best resources if you need help! 

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