This checklist for preventing falls at home is courtesy of Cindi Landreth, vice president of A-1 Builders & Adaptations Design Studio in Bellingham.
Minimize steps in the house, including the shower threshold. If possible, create complete living accommodations on one floor. Stairs anywhere are a risk.
Install wall rails for entering and exiting the shower or tub, as well as something to hold onto while using the shower. An elevated toilet with handrails might be necessary.
Use non-slip floor surfaces, especially in the bathroom area.
Eliminate all area and throw rugs. People can trip or slip easily on such rugs.
Keep a well-lit, safe walkway (covered if possible) to the car and mailbox.
Manage or train pets to keep them out from underfoot. Use barriers if necessary.
Create accessible storage and ergonomic use in the kitchen, to prevent having to use step stools or chairs for out-of-reach items.
Provide excellent lighting and lighting management, with switches in logical places so you can travel through the home and never have to cross a dark room.
Utilize a high variation in colors and finishes where there are edges or variations in height, such as the edges of countertops, tops of stairs, or tub decks.
Use “safe judgment” rather than discover the hard way that your balance and strength isn’t what it used to be. Ask for help, create a place for a lists of tasks, and delegate them appropriately.
A-1 Builders & Adaptations Design Studio: 360-734-5275, ext. 105, a1builders.ws
National Council on Aging: Falls Prevention page at ncoa.org