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Changes in physical conditions and general mobility can put seniors at an increased risk for falls as they age, which is why low-impact forms of exercise that improve strength and balance are so important for fall prevention in seniors. However, each tripping hazard at home adds further and unnecessary dangers, so removing these is equally essential for preventing falls and injury. Here are some ways to avoid the most common trip hazards for seniors—before a dangerous fall happens.

Use High-Quality Footwear

Sometimes our own footwear trips us up. Avoid wearing shoes with slippery soles, floppy construction, or high heels to reduce your risk of falling. Ensure that your shoes fit properly, offer adequate support where you need it, and have soles with good treads.

Address Pet-Related Fall Risks

Small pets are especially easy to trip on because they’re harder to see from a standing height. However, pets of any size can indirectly pose a serious trip hazard if their bowls, toys, beds, and other supplies become walkway obstacles. Consider attaching a bell to your pets’ collars to increase your awareness of their presence. Move stray toys and chews out of main pathways as soon as you spot them.

Secure Rugs and Flooring

It’s jarring for anyone to suddenly find themselves “surfing” a hardwood floor on a slippery throw rug, but there can be serious outcomes for seniors in this situation. Flooring fabrics are a major culprit of senior falls, so make sure that your rugs have non-skid backing or mats and lie flat. Ensure that loose floorboards and carpet corners are secured down to avoid catching your foot on them, and cut any loose threading in rugs.

Clear High-Traffic Areas

If you can’t get rid of clutter entirely, at least remove it from the main pathways in your home. Move boxes, books, newspapers, magazine racks, plant stands, and other items out of walkways, particularly sharp-cornered small tables. Be sure that electrical cords don’t stretch across these thoroughfares, either.

Use Strategic Lighting

Despite our best efforts, it’s hard not to trip on something you can’t see, particularly during nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen. Use the following strategies to create well-lit walkways:

  • Use nightlights in your bathroom, bedroom, and hallways
  • Keep a lamp within easy reach of your bed in case you need to get up at night
  • Particularly in rooms where the light switch isn’t located near the entrance, consider installing glow-in-the-dark light switches, or at least keep the path to the light switch clear
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs
  • Keep flashlights handy so you can light your way in all areas of your home

Prevent Fall Risks With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our Fall Prevention Program, which offers fitness classes for senior citizens. Contact us today to relieve mobility issues, build strength, and help prevent injuries!