Tips for Preventing Falls

senior carefully walking down the stairs


  • Install adequate lighting by doorways and along walkways leading to doors.
  • Repair cracks and abrupt edges of sidewalks and driveways.
  • Install handrails on stairs and steps.
  • Remove high doorway thresholds.
  • Trim shrubbery along the pathway to the home.
  • Keep walk areas clear of clutter, rocks and tools.
  • Keep walk areas clear of snow and ice.

All Living Spaces

  • Have at least one phone extension in each level of the home and post emergency numbers at each phone.
  • Maintain nightlights or motion-sensitive lighting throughout the home.
  • Use a change in color to denote changes in surface types or levels.
  • Install electronic emergency response system if needed.
  • Check lighting for adequate illumination and glare control.
  • Secure rugs with nonskid tape as well as carpet edges.
  • Use contrast in paint, furniture and carpet colors.
  • Remove oversized furniture and objects.
  • Add electrical outlets.
  • Avoid throw rugs.
  • Reduce clutter.


  • Keep commonly used items within easy reach.
  • Make sure appliance cords are out of the way.
  • Avoid using floor polish or wax in order to reduce slick surfaces.
  • Use a sturdy step stool when you need something from a high shelf.


  • Use nonskid mats or carpet on floor surfaces that may get wet.
  • Install grab bars on walls around the tub and beside the toilet, strong enough to hold your weight.
  • Add nonskid mats or strips to bathtubs.
  • Mount liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub wall.
  • Install a portable, hand-held shower head.
  • Add a padded bath or shower seat.
  • Install a raised toilet seat if needed.

Living, Dining and Family Rooms

  • Keep electrical and telephone cords out of the way.
  • Arrange furniture so that you can easily move around it (especially low coffee tables).
  • Make sure chairs and couches are easy to get in and out of.
  • Remove caster wheels from furniture.
  • Use television remote control and cordless phone.
  • Avoid long sleeves and loose clothing while cooking.
  • Use an easy-to-use microwave instead of a stove or oven.
  • Have stove controls easily accessible.
  • Keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove.


  • Put in a bedside light with a switch that is easy to turn on and off (or a touch lamp).
  • Have a nightlight.
  • Locate telephone within reach of bed.
  • Adjust height of bed to make it easy to get in and out of.
  • Have a firm chair, with arms, to sit and dress.

Stairways, Hallways and Pathways

  • Keep free of clutter.
  • Make sure carpet is secured and get rid of throw rugs.
  • Install tightly fastened handrails running the entire length and along both sides of stairs.
  • Handrails should be 34 inches high and have a diameter of about 1.5 inches.
  • Apply brightly colored tape to the face of the steps to make them more visible.
  • Optimal stair dimensions are 7.2 inch riser heights with either an 11 or 12 inch tread width.
  • Have adequate lighting in stairways, hallways, and pathways, with light switches placed at each end.

Tips extracted from the Colorado State University Extension.