Avoiding Slips in the Home

Many slips occur when you’re standing or walking on irregular or slippery surfaces or in obstructed areas of the home. Avoiding slips is a very real concern for seniors who continue to live independently at home. While all age groups are susceptible to slips, older adults are most at risk.

Slips can lead to falls, which continue to be the chief cause for injury-associated fractures, hospital stays, and casualties. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 percent of hip fractures in people over the age of 65 are caused by slips and falls.

Certain household surfaces can be dangerous if you have decreased balance, your vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be, or you have a history of falls. The first step to avoiding slips is locating areas within your home where most slips are likely to occur. These can be places like the kitchen, bathroom, stairways, walkways, and hallways, according to the Administration on Aging. Here are some ways to avoid slips in your home:

Keep Stairs Clear

Always keep stairways uncluttered and unobstructed. Stairs and hand railings should be repaired, kept in good condition, and routinely checked for safety issues. Continuous handrails in contrasting colors should be used for all stairways. You can also avoid your chance of slipping by removing stair runners.

Proper Flooring

Install non-slip walkway surfaces such as low-profile carpeting to prevent falls. Non-skid hardwood flooring can be used if you use a wheelchair, walker, or cane. Keep the floor free of obstacles by decreasing clutter in your walkways and securing telephone and electrical cords out of sight. Remove any rugs that are in direct walkways throughout your home.

Install Proper Lighting

Ensure that all of your living areas are well lit. Slips can occur if you can’t see an obstacle. Make sure you have proper lighting in critical areas such as entrances, stairs, hallways, and bathrooms.

Slip-Proof the Kitchen

Keep the kitchen floor safe by cleaning up grease, water, and other liquids without delay. Don’t wax your floors, as this can make them extremely slippery. You can use non-skid mats to decrease your likelihood of slipping while working in the kitchen.

It’s important to note that climbing and reaching high places can also potentially increase your chance of slipping and falling. Move items that are too high to reach to a lower, easier to retrieve area.

Bathroom Safety

One of the places in the home where slips and falls occur most frequently is in the bathroom. The slick surface of the bathtub or shower and a wet floor can easily cause you to slip.

Create a slip-resistant walkway by using non-skid floor mats versus throw rugs in the bathroom. As in the kitchen, don’t wax bathroom floors. An inexpensive way to prevent slips in the bathtub or shower involves applying nonslip adhesive strips to surfaces.

Use grab bars throughout the bathroom to help you decrease your risk of slipping. Install grab bars in contrasting colors on your walls and within the bathtub or shower area to decrease your risk of slipping. In addition, if you have a difficult time rising out of a chair, use a raised toilet seat with support arms.

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