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September 23, 2014

A Checklist to Prevent Falls in Your Home

Today, the first day of fall, marks the 7th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a day created to raise awareness about how to prevent falls and fall-related injuries as we age. Nationally, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Ohio, a person 65 or older is injured in a fall every 2.5 minutes on average, resulting in an emergency room visit every 8 minutes, two hospitalizations per hour, and three deaths per day, according to Steady U, an Ohio Department of Health Initiative.

The financial and physical costs of a fall can prove significant. According to Steady U, the direct treatment charges for fall-related hospitalizations among older Ohioans are estimated at $646 million. This does not include other medical costs, missed work for individuals and their caregivers, or lost productivity for employers. Physically, 20-30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head trauma, any of which can make it difficult to live independently and increase the risk of early death.

For many older adults, falls often happen in the place they feel safest: the home. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can greatly reduce your risk of falling by identifying home falling hazards that are easy to fix.

Entryway and Stairs

  • Use entrance matting to minimize tracking of soil and water throughout the home.

  • Store shoes neatly away from the door.

  • Keep stairs clear of small objects like books, magazines, or newspapers; blankets; pet or children’s toys; and towels.

  • Fix any loose or uneven steps or handrails.

  • If stairs are carpeted, ensure the carpet is not torn and is firmly attached to every step.

  • Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.

Family Room

  • Shift cramped furniture or other obstacles to create wide, clear pathways.

  • Keep floors clear of any small objects.

  • Coil or tape electronic wires and cords (like lamp, telephone, or extension cords) down next to the wall.

  • If you have hardwood floors, ensure all floor boards are even.

  • Only use non-skid floor wax.

  • Remove loose rugs or use double-sided tape or non-slip backing to prevent rugs from slipping.


  • Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LED light bulbs, which may last 40,000 hours longer than compact fluorescent light bulbs.

  • Use night lights to brighten paths that lack abundant overhead lighting.


  • Remove soap buildup in the tub or shower regularly.

  • Install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.

  • Place a non-slip rubber mat or strips on the floor of the tub or shower.

  • Secure bath mats with double-sided tape or non-slip backing.


  • Place a lamp and phone close to the bed.

  • Use night lights to brighten your path from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Feeling independent in your home begins by taking proactive steps to eliminate hazards to your health. For a complete Home Fall Prevention Checklist you can print and carry with you throughout your home, click here.

Home Fall Prevention Checklist


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