Main content

Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors, and the kitchen and bathroom are two areas where they most commonly occur. That’s because these spaces feature more hard, smooth surfaces and sharp corners than elsewhere. They’re also the places where water and other slick liquids (like soap, cleaners, and lotions) are most often used, which means they’re prime territory for severe slips, falls, and injuries. However, with careful planning and some simple adjustments for senior fall prevention, you can significantly lower the dangers in these rooms.

Here’s how.

How to Prevent Falls in the Kitchen

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, but it can also be a dangerous place for seniors. Here's how to make it safer:

  • Flooring: Choose non-slip flooring or add non-slip mats in areas prone to spills.
  • Lighting: Install good-quality lighting, especially near the stove and sink.
  • Organization: Keep frequently used items within easy reach to avoid overstretching or having to use a step stool.
  • Step stools: If you do use a step stool, be sure it is made with sturdy materials, is graded to bear the weight range that applies to you, and is easy to use securely. If possible, choose one with “grippy” steps that will give your feet better traction. Keep it clean and free of dust, grease, or other slippery substances.
  • Good storage: Keep slippery liquids like dish soap, cooking oil, and cleaners properly contained in cupboards or drawers to prevent spills (and to prevent spills from getting on the countertops or floor, where they can cause slippage).

How to Prevent Falls in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be particularly hazardous because it features frequently wet surfaces like bathtubs and showers. Here's how to minimize slip and fall risks:

  • Grab bars: Install grab bars near the toilet, shower, and tub. These provide support in the most potentially precarious places.
  • Non-slip mats: Place non-slip mats in the shower and tub as well as near the sink.
  • Shower seats: Consider installing a shower seat to minimize the time you spend standing in the shower. Staying seated gives you more stability.
  • Toilet height: Raised toilet seats can make sitting down and standing up easier. This can help to prevent falls because it eliminates the need for awkward and unstable movements.

3. General Tips for Both Areas

  • Clear clutter: Keep walkways clear of cords, containers, rugs that don’t have non-slip backing, and other tripping hazards.
  • Wear proper footwear: Consider keeping a pair of sturdy, supportive, and waterproof “shower shoes” in your bathroom and kitchen to provide more traction and better foot placement.
  • Educate and communicate: Make sure everyone in the home understands the importance of these safety measures.

Prevent Falls 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 arthritis, build strength, and help prevent injuries!

Alternatively, consider supporting our work by attending our Twilight Tasting event on Thursday, September 21st, 2023. Can’t attend? We welcome donations all year round!