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Remove Hazards

Remove Hazards to support yourself in reducing your risk of having a fall.

Make Your Home Safer

Your home should be a safe and comfortable environment for you to live in.

Hazards can be found inside and outside of your home. When these hazards combine with other factors such as poor vision, weak bones, unsafe footwear and side effects of medicines, this can increase your risk of having a fall.

Hazards in the home can come in a variety of forms, so it is important to check your home for hazards regularly to avoid a fall.  Watch our Make Your Home Safer animation to learn how Frank and Tiddles make their home safer and avoid slips, trips and falls. After watching the animation try using the Home Safety Checklist to identify hazards in your home.

Older adult removing hazards in his home
Common hazards that contribute to falls
  • Not enough lighting
  • Carrying shopping bags or handbags
  • Tripping over objects on the floor, stairs or dangling from furniture
  • Slipping or tripping on loose mats and rugs and on slippery floors
  • Tripping on uneven floors, over shower hobs and on stairs
  • Slipping or tripping on wet or uneven paths
  • Tripping over tools and other objects left on the lawn or in the garage
Tips to make your home safer
  • Remove rugs, mats, slippery tiles and objects on the floor
  • Ensure you have enough lighting and you turn lights on
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Move your furniture to create larger walkways
  • Keep everyday objects in easy to reach areas
  • If you need assistive equipment speak to your GP or care provider
  • If you have a fall always make sure you let someone know
Who can help

Check Your Eyesight

As you get older your vision will begin to change.  Many of these changes are very gradual, so they are often ignored or go unnoticed. It is extremely important to get your eyes tested at least once a year.

Poor eyesight is not only a risk factor for falls, but it also reduces your ability to do daily tasks and can lead to a poorer quality of life.

 

Older adult putting on her glasses
Tips to improve your vision
  • Be aware of small changes to your vision like cataracts or watery eyes, and visit an optometrist or your GP
  • Get your eyes checked regularly
  • Wear properly fitted glasses, as advised by your optometrist
  • Take time to adjust to new lenses
  • Make sure bifocals fit correctly, and remove them when walking up and down stairs
  • Consider having two pairs of glasses instead of multifocal lenses, as older people who use multifocal lenses have a greater risk of falling
  • Allow eyes to adjust when moving to an area of different light
  • Clean glasses often
  • Do not wear someone else’s glasses.
Tips to make your environment safer
  • Ensure there is good lighting in your house
  • Use plain coloured floor patterns
  • Put contrast strips on the edge of stairs to help see depth
  • Put contrast strips on edges of shelves to assist with depth perception
  • When moving from an area of different light (inside/outside), stop and hold onto a steady object while your eyes adjust.
Who can help

Wear Safe Footwear

Your feet provide support and balance to your body when it is in different positions.  If you have foot pain and foot problems you may walk more slowly and have difficulty doing tasks like housework or shopping. Over time, foot problems can also reduce your mobility which leads to a loss of independence.

We need good shoes to support our feet. If we are not supported, how can we stand tall, walk or move around? Shoes are important because they support the feet and protect them from extreme temperatures, moisture, hazards in the environment and injury, and they help us to perform whatever activities we are doing. Shoes that do not fit well can contribute to discomfort, injury and permanent foot problems. Wearing shoes which hurt our feet can alter our walking and can put us off-balance.

 

What makes footwear safe?

Heel height

Studies have shown that high heels make you less stable and balanced when walking. Broader heels are safer than narrow heels. A safe heel should be broad with a round shape and a heel height less than 2cm.

Mid-sole cushioning

Foam material is used in the middle sole area of shoes to provide comfort. A good shoe will have cushioning, but not so much so that the foot is not stable and can’t feel the ground.

Slip resistance

The slip resistance of the outer sole of a shoe is important to prevent slipping. The amount of tread on a shoe sole can increase your risk of tripping. Too much tread causes shoes to grab the ground; while a smooth slippery sole makes shoes slip; both increase your risk of falling.

Bevelled heel

A rounded heel improves slip resistance by increasing the surface contact area of the shoe as the heel strikes the floor. This can help to reduce slip-related falls.

Heel collar height

Shoes with a high heel collar support the ankle. This helps to prevent ankle injury and provides your brain with more information to help you maintain your balance.

Common foot complaints
  • Corns and calluses
  • Bunions
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Toe deformities.

These foot complaints are all very common and can be very painful. People with foot complaints will often alter the way they walk to take the pressure off the sore. This can impact  your walking style and balance, which can cause a fall. It is best to see your GP or podiatrist if you have any foot complaints. As well as treating the issue, they can find shoes specifically for your feet and any foot conditions.

Who can help

Now you know how to move your body, improve your health and remove hazards to prevent falls why not try the Falls Risk checklist?

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

Find out more
Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters