There are certain changes one should make in the home of an elderly person to avoid painful and costly falls.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year one of out every three adults age 65 and older falls. And the likelihood of falling increases substantially with advancing age.

The following checklist is adapted from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FLOORS:

Ask someone to move the furniture so your path is clear.

Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.

Pick up things that are on the floor. Always keep objects off the floor.

Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them. If needed, have an electrician put in another outlet.

STAIRS AND STEPS:

Pick up things on the stairs. Always keep objects off stairs.

Fix loose or uneven steps.

Have an electrician put in an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. You can get light switches that glow.

Have a friend or family member change the light bulb.

Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step, or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.

Fix loose handrails or put in new ones. Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.

KITCHEN:

Move items in your cabinets. Keep things you use often on the lower shelves (about waist level).

If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.

BATHROOMS:

Put a non–slip rubber mat or self–stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.

Have a carpenter put grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.

BEDROOMS:

Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.

Put in a night–light so you can see where you’re walking. Some night–lights go on by themselves after dark.

Bed rails on the sides of your bed will act as added safety while you sleep.

Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Falls

Exercise regularly. Exercise makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.

Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy.

Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.

Get up slowly after you sit or lie down.

Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.

Improve the lighting in your home. Put in brighter light bulbs. Florescent bulbs are bright and cost less to use.

It’s safest to have uniform lighting in a room. Add lighting to dark areas. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.

Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better. For example, use a light color paint on dark wood.

Other Safety Tips

Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.

Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up.

Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.

You should not make any changes without the approval from the homeowner. Allow them to be involved in the changes. Ask questions and find out what makes them uncomfortable in their home.