Simple steps to reduce the risk of falls in the home.

Fall prevention blog

Simple steps to reduce the risk of falls in the home.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among all Canadians.

One of the most common concerns caregivers have when caring for an elderly parent, spouse or another care recipient, is the risk of a fall. Tripping on a loose rug or a wet floor, muscle weakness or dizziness caused by medications are some of the reasons a fall can happen.

4 steps you can take to help prevent falls in the home

1. Eliminate or reduce tripping hazards:

  • Install non-slip mats in the kitchen, hallways and foyer
  • Remove loose area rugs from around the house
  • Tuck electronic cords out of the way
  • Make sure furniture is not crowded together in a way that obstructs people with balance issues or using a walker
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs
  • Install visual contrast strips on stairs
  • If care recipient needs assistance climbing the stairs, walk behind them. Keep your hand on their shoulders or on a belt to help them keep their balance
  • Talk to an occupational therapist about assistive devices such as a stair lift

2. Eliminate or reduce slipping risks:

  • Wipe up moisture or spills immediately
  • Use non-skid floor wax
  • Ensure your care recipient wears shoes with non-slip soles around the house
  • Use non-slip bathmats/pads for inside the bathroom and shower
  • Install handrails in the bathtub/shower and next to the toilet
  • Use a bath seat or shower chair
  • Talk to an occupational therapist about assistive devices

3. Minimize side effects of medication:

  • If a medication is causing dizziness, sleepiness or balance issues, there might be an alternative medication available with fewer side effects; talk to your care recipient’s pharmacist or doctor
  • Taking certain medications at different times of the day, with or without food, may minimize side effects. Ask a pharmacist or your care recipient’s doctor for advice. For example, your care recipient can take their morning medication after their shower
  • Encourage your care recipient to move slowly out of bed or a chair—getting up suddenly can make them feel dizzy

4. Improve mobilization:

  • Encourage the person to move to the best of their ability and to do what their health conditions safely allow; even little movements can help
  • Chair exercises—do an online search for stretching and movement exercises that can be done from a chair
  • Tapping—encourage your care recipient to tap their toes and tap their hands to their shoulders throughout the day
  • Your care recipient may be able to do light arm curls using soup cans or other items around the house
  • Use at-home therapists to assist with body-appropriate exercises and range of motion activities

For more resources, visit:

Regional Geriatric Program of Ontario at www.rgps.on.ca

Canadian Frailty Network at www.cfn-nce.ca

Sign up for latest resources, events and updates from the OCO delivered right to your inbox.