3 Ways to Prevent Falls at Home

prevent falls at hom

Over 60% of falls happen at home. It’s a high statistic that can be prevented with some simple changes. 

If you have an older parent who has fallen recently, you might be wondering what you can do to help prevent falls. 

As a physical therapist, I’ve worked with older adults and their families on ways to make living spaces safer. 

But if there’s one common thread with most families it’s this: most older adults do not like making changes in their home.  This is why it’s important to be sensitive with recommendations and try small changes first. 

The good news is that a few small changes can make a huge difference in preventing falls without feeling cumbersome or intruding on normal life. 

1. Install Grab Bars at Stairs and Showers 

Slipping and falling can be greatly reduced with a well placed hand rail or support handle. 

There are two places to consider adding a handle or grab bar:

Bathroom Wall In or Near Shower

Most falls happen in the bathroom, so this is the absolute first place I recommend adding a grab bar. It’s best to install this on studs, but sometimes it’s not possible. With new technology, you can install these grab bars on tile with heavy duty suction supports. Here is the grab bar I recommend most for my patients. 

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Moen 8724 Home 24-Inch Bathroom Grab Bar, Stainless
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Moen 8724 Home 24-Inch Bathroom Grab Bar, Stainless
  • Coordinating Finish: Stainless finish coordinates with today's popular kitchen appliances and accessories
  • Supportive Design: Bathroom grab bar supports up to 500 pounds when installed in a stug or when using SecureMounts (not included)

Garage steps

Most garages have steps to enter the home, but few have support rails. At a minimum, having one grab bar is going to reduce the chance of a misstep in the garage. If you don’t have a rail, consider double grab bars (one on each side of the door). 

2. Replace Old Rugs with Non Slip Mats

If your bathroom rug slides across the floor easily, it’s time for a different rug. Since most falls happen in the bathroom, a non-slip bath mat is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to prevent falls. 

I highly recommend a non-slip grip for the bathtub or shower floor too. If you’re on a budget or you’re trying to avoid too many changes at once, then go with the non-slip rug.

Bathroom Rug Non Slip Bath Mat for Bathroom Water Absorbent Soft Microfiber Shaggy Bathroom Mat Machine Washable Bath Rug for Bathroom Thick...
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Bathroom Rug Non Slip Bath Mat for Bathroom Water Absorbent Soft Microfiber Shaggy Bathroom Mat Machine Washable Bath Rug for Bathroom Thick...
  • ❤【INCREDIBLY SOFT】- Premium bath mat features a luxurious, fluffy and soft pile that soothes tired feet and shields toes from the cold floor....
  • ❤【ULTRA ABSORBENT】- High-pile, constructed out of premium thick microfiber fabric.The microfiber bath rug is much more absorbent than cotton...

3. Install Motion Lights in the Hallway or Bathroom

Our vision accounts for a significant portion of our balance.  This is why so many falls happen at night in a dark room or bathroom.  If we can’t see well, our balance will be significantly compromised!

One of the best ways to prevent falls due to poor lighting is to install motion sensor lightbulbs in the bathroom, hallway, or walkways.  

These new lightbulbs have a motion sensor built in, so it will turn on automatically when it senses motion. 

Motion Sensor Light Bulbs, Boxlood Motion Activated Dusk to Dawn Outdoor Light Bulb, 12W 1000lm 100W Equivalent, A19 E26 6000K Cool White...
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Motion Sensor Light Bulbs, Boxlood Motion Activated Dusk to Dawn Outdoor Light Bulb, 12W 1000lm 100W Equivalent, A19 E26 6000K Cool White...
  • 💎 PIR INFRARED MOTION SENSOR: PIR infrared motion sensor is in the top of bulb,the motion detector works like a small electronic eyes that detect...
  • 💎 DUSK TO DAWN: Built-in a photocell sensor, deactivates the motion sensing light bulb during the daylight hours to save energy.(Automatically turn...

Best place to install: Try installing it in the bathroom or in a hallway lamp. Placing a motion sensor bulb in your bedroom may not be good since it may turn on if you move around in your sleep.  

Final Thoughts

These changes may seem too simple to make a difference. But when you hear the reasons why people fall in their homes, it’s usually because of simple things that could have been prevented.

Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a second cane and keeping it at the bedside. (see recommended canes for balance) Other times it’s as simple as turning on a light if you need to use the bathroom at night.

Falling is no joke and can happen to anyone at any age! Protect yourself with a few precautions and you’ll greatly decrease your risk of falling at home.

Tim Fraticelli DPT, MBA, CFP®

Tim Fraticelli is a Physical Therapist, Certified Financial Planner™ and founder of PTProgress.com. He loves to teach PTs and OTs ways to save time and money in and out of the clinic, especially when it comes to documentation or continuing education. Follow him on YouTube for weekly videos on ways to improve your financial health.