There are many hazards that can increase the risk of falls around your home, for example loose rugs, poor lighting, wet surfaces (in the bathroom), clutter, and ill-fitting footwear. Have a look around and see what could be fixed to reduce the risk of falls in your house.
Falls are more likely to happen when you are doing your daily activities, such as taking a shower or bath, cleaning, or carrying objects round the house. Simply having 2 grab rails in your bathroom (one to help you get in and out of the bath and one to hold on to while you are in the bath) will significantly reduce the risk of falls and slips. Stairs should also have handrails. Anywhere in the house where you think you might need some extra support should have something that you can hold on to in order to reduce the risk of falls.
Is my house well lit?
Areas that are poorly lit increase the risk of falls.If there is anywhere in your home where you have trouble seeing then you should consider putting in more lights so that you can reduce the risk of falling. Everywhere in the house should be well lit, especially stairs and hallways.
Do I want a telephone that can help if I have a fall?
There are telephones that are available that have panic buttons that when pressed call 999 or your emergency contact to warn them that you have had a fall. This is great if you have a fall and can’t get up in order to get to the phone to tell someone.
Do I want to have an SOS button with me?
Some telephones have a pendant, which have an SOS button on them and can be carried around with you. If you have a fall you can press the button and it will call a family member or a friend. It will allow you to stay where you are especially if you are hurt or can’t get up. Do I want a panic alarm/ home safety alert? A panic alarm is a pendant with a button on it that, when pressed, will contact a call centre and let them know that there has been an accident so that you can get immediate help.
Do I have fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted in my house?
Fire alarms will alarm you when it detects smoke in your house warning you if there is a fire so that you have time to leave the house. Carbon monoxide alarms are also important. They detect carbon monoxide (CO, a poisonous gas that cannot be seen, tasted, or smelt and can go undetected) and warn you when there is CO in your home so that you can reduce the risks of having CO enter your blood stream.
If yes, will I be able to hear them?
A lot of older people have problems with their hearing. If this is the case make sure that you are able to hear your fire and carbon monoxide alarms, especially when you are sleeping. Strobe lights and vibrating pads (to put under your pillow while you sleep) that can be connected to the alarms are available. This will allow you to see or feel the alarm and give you extra security.
Do I want an alarm for my house?
Having an alarm in your house will give you security if someone tries to break in. The alarm will sound and warn you and the police that someone has entered your house. This will allow you not to worry about anyone trying to break in.
Do I feel my door lock is safe?
If your door lock does not feel safe you have two options. You can either get someone to look at it so that they can tell you whether it is safe or not or you can get a new lock that will make you feel more safe.
Do I have trouble remembering my key?
If you have trouble remembering your key you can get a key lock box fitted, so that you don’t have to worry about remembering your key. If you have one fitted keep a spare key in the lock box so that you have one if you forget your key. You could also give a spare key to a neighbour that you trust.
Do I have a chain lock on my door?
A chain lock will increase the security of the home by adding another lock to open to get into your home while you are at home. It is a good idea if you feel worried or scared about being broken into.