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Are You at Risk for Falling? Tips to Make Your Home Safer

  • author name Alyssa Peterson, MSPT
Eldery woman using her dishwasher.

Falls are a common and often overlooked problem. The statistics sum it up: One in four older people fall each year. And after you fall once, this doubles your chances of falling again. 

Many factors increase your risk of falling including weakness; difficulty with walking and balance; use of medications; vision loss; poor footwear; and environmental hazards. The good news is that falls are preventable. Take our short questionnaire to help determine your risk. Then learn what you can do to reduce your chances of falling.  

Fall Risk Questionnaire

  • Are you over 65 years of age?
  • Have you had any falls or near falls in the past six months?
  • Do you wear glasses or hearing aids?
  • If yes to the question above, are your prescriptions current?
  • Do you take three of more prescription medications daily?
  • Are there hazards in your home that could cause you to fall, such as poor lighting or loose rugs?
  • Do you have a hard time getting in/out of the bathtub or on/off toilet?
  • Are you ever dizzy or lightheaded or having trouble keeping your balance?
  • Do you have two more more ongoing medical conditions?
  • Do you use a cane or walker?

If you have answered yes to:

1-3 = minimal risk of falls
4-5 = moderate risk of falls
6+ = high risk of falls

Since over 60 percent of falls happen inside the home, we’ll focus on some quick and easy changes you can make within your home to reduce your risk of falling.  

How to Reduce Fall Risks in Your Home

Remove Hazards

  • Remove things that could trip you such as throw rugs, boxes, piles of paper or cords
  • Do not store items on stairs
  • Keep walkways clear
  • Clean up spills right away

Improve Lighting

  • Add nightlights to halls, bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Put light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs
  • Be sure each room and flight of stairs has proper lighting
  • Use shades or curtains to cut glare from windows
  • Replace burned out bulbs

Modify Flooring

  • Put non-skid pads under rugs
  • Remove throw rugs
  • Replace worn floor coverings
  • Tack carpet firmly to each step on carpeted stairs. Put non-skid strips on the edges of uncarpeted stairs.
  • Keep floors and stairs free of clutter and cords
  • Arrange furniture so there are clear pathways for walking 

Check Your Bathrooms

  • Install grab bars in the tub or shower
  • Apply non-skid strips or put a non-skid rubber mat in the tub or shower
  • Sit on a bath chair to bathe
  • Use bathmats with non-skid backing
  • Use a raised toilet seat

If you have experienced a fall, worry about falling, or feel unsteady, talk openly with your health-care provider about your concerns so steps can be taken to keep you safe. Fall prevention is worth the effort.

author name

Alyssa Peterson, MSPT

Alyssa Peterson, MSPT is a physical therapist with Lancaster General Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Suburban Pavilion. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, with a master’s degree in Physical Therapy and a minor in Gerontology. Her areas of interest include general orthopedics, aquatics and fall prevention. She especially enjoys working with older adults.

Call: 717-544-3000

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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