Active Aging and Fall Prevention for Senior Safety

Active Aging and Fall Prevention for Senior Safety

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 16, 2019


Americans are living longer than ever before, and most are maintaining independent lifestyles. However, at some point during senior’s active aging years, it is imperative that a fall assessment of the home be undertaken to catch problem areas early and prevent potentially catastrophic falls from occurring. 


According to the National Safety Council, one in three older adults will fall each year. Most of these accidents occur in the home. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury in older adults. Unfortunately, more than 33,000 people died as a direct result of falls in 2015, and most of them were over the age of 65. Even if a senior enjoys an active lifestyle and appears to be in fantastic health, they can still sustain a serious and life-threatening fall if safety measures in the home are not undertaken. With only a few cost-efficient alterations such as improved lighting, non-skid flooring, decluttering, reorganization, and hand grips in key places, a clear majority of falls can be prevented.

Fall Prevention and an Active Senior Lifestyle

Seniors who live an active lifestyle can still sustain a traumatic fall due to a wide array of causes such as medications, balance issues, vision impairment, excessive clutter, a slippery surface, or climbing to reach certain items. 

Here are just a few fall prevention ideas:

  • Lighting: It does not matter how active or in shape a senior might be—vision can still become a problem. Failing eyesight or difficulty seeing in low light situations often starts to occur when a person turns 40 and continues to worsen with each passing year. Increasing the lighting within a home is an ideal solution. Track lighting in each room helps illuminate the floor so that obstacles are easily discernible. Modern computerized systems such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa control a wide array of home functions such as lighting, home temperature settings, and security. With a simple voice command, a senior can turn on lights in various rooms, turn down the thermostat, or even turn on/off the home’s security features. Voice-activated services all reduce the amount of time that I senior must get up and down to turn on/off lighting.  Old-fashioned clap or touch lights are also cost-efficient options to effortlessly light up a room. Plug-in nightlights in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, stairways, and bedroom are simple solutions. Such items are readily available at department stores or online. 
  • Non-Skid Flooring: Certain kinds of throw rugs may look fantastic, but they are a serious hazard if they bunch up or slide across the floor. Installing non-skid strips beneath rugs may help hold them in place. Swapping out dangerous throw rugs for heavy, rubber-backed rugs is also an option. Bathrooms, stairways, and kitchens should have adhesive strips placed down to prevent slipping. These adhesive strips are economical and long-lasting. They can also be easily peeled up if the senior decides to sell the home later. Non-skid wall-to-wall carpet is also an option to install over slippery tile or hardwood flooring. The carpet is not slippery and creates a cushion if the senior should fall. However, carpeting throughout the home is an expensive option that might be out of the budget range of many seniors. 
  • Clutter: Clutter, such as excessive furniture, shoes, pet toys, knick-knacks, or other items on the floor, may cause a tripping hazard. Clearing away clutter and maintaining an open floor plan removes fall hazards. Arrange furniture so that it is wide open and does not pose an obstacle to movement. If the senior owns too much furniture, then the excessive items should be sold or donated to free up space. Decluttering a home is often an emotional experience for a senior. Many may not want to part with their belongings. In such circumstances, you might decide to simply move the items to a spare, unused room of the home or rent a storage unit, so the senior does not feel like they are giving up their beloved items. 
  • Reorganization: Reorganization of the kitchen and other cabinets in the home to make items more reachable prevents a senior from having to climb to obtains things that might be located on the top shelves. A grab bar is a great item to keep on hand in certain rooms such as the kitchen. With the grab bar, a senior can reach up to grab items that are out of reach. 

If a senior who lives an active lifestyle is at risk of falling, then undertaking a few precautionary measures can prevent an accident from occurring. Most fall prevention steps are affordable and easy to undertake as a DIY project. Family members or friends can help in creating a safe home environment so a senior can continue enjoying an active lifestyle regardless of the passing years. 

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.