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Tips for Preventing Injury in the Home

Following these tips to make your home safer can help with the prevention of injury and falls. Many of these ideas are simple and can be carried out by yourself, a family member or by a handyman in your local area.

Access

  • Remove all unnecessary items from throroughfares in your home as they are a trip hazard.
  • Always put glasses and walking aids in easily accessible areas.
  • Ensure you have easy access to your telephone to prevent rushing to answer it. A cordless phone, installing extra telephone extensions or an answering machine are other options.
  • Have non-slip flooring in wet areas including the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. All floors should be firm and kept in good condition. Long pile carpets should be avoided.
  • Mats or rugs  can cause a trip or block wheelchair access. Removing internal mats can make areas safe and cleaning easier. A rubber mat with a beveled edge helps prevent people catching their foot on the mat and can be useful at entry points as well as the bathroom. Use a thin rubber rughold to stop rugs moving about.
  • Pay particular attention to entries and access areas. Apply slip resistant paints or adhesive strips to slippery steps or decking. Paths should be a gradient of 1 in 20 and ramps should not be steeper than 1 in 14. Care should be taken going through doorways as thresholds can make the floor uneven. Small threshold ramps are available to ease this transition.

Maintenance

  • Ensure you have good lighting in all areas of your house. Use 75 watt bulbs, track lighting, sensor lights or night lights. 
  • Keep up with general maintenance and household repairs to avoid danger areas. Pay attention to the condition of your steps, hand rails and carpet edges and organise repairs promptly when required. People with a disability or older people can call Home Assist Secure to arrange repairs and minor modifications. Phone 1800 177 289 to find out about the scheme in your local area. 
  • Keep your outdoor areas in good condition. Fill in holes in the lawn and keep paths and concrete areas in good repair.

Room Specific Tips

Bedroom

  • Getting out of bed can be made easier by having a firm mattress and using bed raisers to lift the overall weight of your bed or using an electric height adjustable bed. Bed sticks or triangles (self help poles) enable you to roll over, sit up and stand up from the bed more independently. Bed rails can prevent you from falling out of bed.

Bathroom

  • Grab rails can be used to assist in moving from sitting to standing and to provide stability while standing in the shower or bath.It is suggested that professional advice is sought from an Occupational Therapist regarding the most apporpriate location and type of rail to install.
  • Slip resistant flooring reduces the chance of slipping.
  • A level entry shower eliminates the need to step over a hob.
  • A hand held shower enables the user to bathe more easily when seated.
  • Shower chairs or stools, bath boards, transfer tub benches and bath inserts may also increase safety.

Toilet

  • Grab rails installed in the toilet assist with lowering down to and raising from the toilet. If it is not possible to use rails then a toilet surround may be used.
  • If you are having difficulties rising because the toilet seat is too low, then a raised toilet seat can be attached to the toilet bowl to make the seat higher. Over toilet frames sit over the toilet and also provide you with a higher seat and handles to push up from.

Kitchen

  • Arrange your kitchen so that regularly used items are within easy reach.
  • Put items that you rarely use in the high and very low cupboards.
  • If you use a step ladder, make sure it is sturdy and has non-slip feet.
  • Use your bench space to drag items  rather than lifting them or use a trolley or traymobile for transporting items without the need to carry them.
  • A kettle tipper can reduce the need to lift a heavy kettle filled with hot water.

Other Prevention Information

Fire prevention

  • Install fire and smoke alarms in the kitchen and wherever you use a heater.
  • Be careful not to place heaters too close to furniture or in a place where you might trip over them.

Clothing and Footwear

  • Try to wear flat shoes that fit snugly and have a non-slip sole with a patterned tread.
  • Clothes shouldn't be too long as this could cause a fall.
  • Maintain your health, monitor your medication, check your sight and hearing regularly and keep active.