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Make Your Home Safe

60% per cent of falls happen in the home. In order to continue to live safely and independently, our homes have to “grow” with us. We can make simple changes at home to reduce the risk of falls.

Flooring & Lighting

Flooring safety and trip hazards

  • Remove all loose mats and rugs
  • If mats are used, ensure they are firmly secured to the floor or walls – use non-slip backing tape where needed
  • Always wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Some floor surfaces are extra slippery when wet
  • Ensure floors are clutter-free
  • Coil or tape wires and cables against the wall and safely away from walkways

Lighting to increase visibility to prevent falls

  • Ensure lights are just bright enough for you to see clearly, but not too bright to cause glare or eye strain
  • Ensure light switches are easy to reach and near each doorway
  • Provide adequate lighting, particularly at night. An inexpensive option is to use plug-in nightlights, or you can consider installing motion sensor lights
  • Allow time for your eyes to adjust when walking from light to dark areas and vice versa
  • Ensure there is good lighting where you keep your medicines

Clothing & Footwear

Clothing and footwear advice

  • Look for shoes that have a firm heel counter (i.e. support) with rounded edge for better support when walking.
  • Look for shoes that have Velcro, buckle or laces to hold the foot firmly in place. Ensure that laces are securely fastened while the shoes are being worn.
  • Shoes with low, broad and slip-resistant heels are ideal to maximise contact with the ground and prevent slipping. Check the sole regularly to ensure it is not worn out.
  • The front of the shoe should be deep and wide enough to accommodate toes comfortably, but not too loose.
  • Ensure that the shoe is of correct length to allow normal foot function. There should be a one-thumb spacing between the longest toe and the shoe liner.
  • Check that clothing (pants, dresses and long skirts) end above the ankle to avoid tripping
  • Sit down rather than stand when dressing

Bathrooms & Toilets

Bathrooms and toilet accessibility and safety

  • Ensure that your soap, shampoo and towel are within easy reach
  • Be cautious at all times when in the bathroom as wet areas are more likely to be slippery and hazardous
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathroom or install slip-resistant flooring
  • Sit on a stable shower chair with back support to make shower time safer
  • Install grab bars and/or use a raised toilet seat if you have difficulty getting on and off the toilet


Kitchen safety and accident prevention

  • Place frequently used items at chest or waist level. Store heavy items within easy reach or in lower cabinets
  • Have sufficient, non-glaring lighting over the counter top and stove, especially when food is being sliced or cut
  • Turn in long-handled utensils when cooking
  • Do not place hot or sharp items near the edge of the table/shelf
  • Organise your kitchen so that frequently used items are easy to find and access without the need to climb, bend or reach
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Do not leave rugs/ cloth on the floor
  • Do not stand on stools and chairs to reach the high shelves

Living Room

Choose stable chairs with arm rests to help you. The seat should be firm because a seat that’s too soft makes it hard to get up after sitting down. When seated, you should be able to place your feet flat on the ground. Chairs should be of the correct height for you. When you are seated, you should be able toplace your feet flat on the ground.

Living room organisation for accessibility and safety

  • Sit on chair with firm seat and stable armrests so that it is easier for you to get up from the chair
  • Check that a chair is of the correct height for you, you should be able to place your feet flat on the ground with knees bent at 90° angle when you are seated
  • Place electrical appliances such as fans against the wall
  • Organise your furniture so that you have a clear walkway at home
  • Place frequently used items such as your phone within easy reach


Bedroom safety, lighting and accessibility

  • Turn on the lights when you get up at night. Ensure the light switch is within easy reach from your bed
  • Consider installing a night light or motion sensor light
  • Keep a telephone beside your bed
  • Keep floor free from clutter
  • Secure loose wires or electrical cords to the walls to prevent tripping
  • Ensure frequently used items such as spectacles and mobile phone are within easy reach
  • Check that beds are easy to get into and out of; use a firm mattress and ensure that the bed is of an appropriate height. You should be able to place your feet flat on the floor when sitting at the edge of the bed. Your knees should be at a comfortable 90° angle
  • Avoid bedsheets with skirting
  • Get out of bed slowly – sit for a short time before you stand up
  • Have your walking aid handy in case you get up in the night