Wear and tear around the home often goes unnoticed because we have lived there for many years without any problems, yet it can increase your risk of a slip, trip or fall.
If you have low vision, ask someone to help you check your home and surroundings for hazards. Ideally, ask someone who has not seen your home before, especially if you have lived there for a long time. They may spot problems no longer noticed.
Act immediately to rectify any problem areas… but before rushing in and fixing any problems alone, consider what can safely be achieved and if possible, arrange help.
Never be afraid to ask for help for the simplest of tasks.
Here are some simple suggestions to immediately reduce risks around the home:
- Adjusting the lighting in and around your home is one of the most important and simple steps that people with low vision can take to help make the home a safer place
- Place mirrors so that lighting doesn't reflect off them and create glare
- Creating contrasts and reducing glare will help significantly
- For window coverings, use adjustable blinds, sheer curtains, or drapes as they allow for the adjustment of natural light
- Keep a few chairs near windows for reading or doing hand crafts in natural light
- A small torch or the light on a smartphone can enhance your safety
Read more about lighting, contrasts and glare here.
- Make sure bed covers and curtains do not fall across the floor
- Keep floors and walkways free of clutter by removing, repositioning or securing loose items
- Avoid placing fans and heaters in walkways or in the middle of the room
- Coil or tape cords and cables next to a wall, or tape them down under the furniture
- Remove or repair torn or stretched carpet or mats that curl or fold easily
- Ensure any loose floor coverings are firmly secured and have a slip-resistant backing
- Pick up dropped food and always wipe up liquid spills carefully, as soon as they occur
- Attach slip-resistant rubber tread on stairs and highlight the edges with a contrasting tape
- Use contrasting tape and colours to highlight furniture, walls, changes in floor levels and other obstacles
- Fit a ‘draught excluder’ to the bottom of the door, rather than using a ‘door sausage’ that can be tripped over
- Avoid heavily patterned floor coverings as they can make it hard to see small obstacles or the edges of steps that blend in with the surroundings
- Avoid using talcum powder on tiles, vinyl or wooden floors, as it makes them very slippery
- Importantly, don’t polish floors – you’ll only make them more slippery
Bathrooms, toilets and shower areas:
- If possible, install handrails in the bath, shower, toilet and other difficult areas
- Use a seat in the shower or bath if it is convenient and safe, and be very careful if you have a hob or step to get into the shower.
- Use non-slip mats in wet areas such as the shower and bathroom
- Choose the most sturdy furniture for your home – for instance a chair with solid armrests will be easier to sit into and get out of
- Keep things in easy reach so that you can avoid getting up higher than floor level. If absolutely necessary, take care and be sure to use a sturdy step ladder
- Choose the clothing you wear wisely – long, loose clothes or dressing gowns can catch on things and cause an accident
- Take time and use handrails whenever they are available, especially when walking up stairs
- If you are purchasing a new home or renovating, choose non-slip floor coverings throughout
Outdoors at home:
- Try to remove anything that throws shadows across paths
- Keep pathways clear of moss, slime and fallen leaves
- Repair cracks and uneven areas as soon as possible
- Choose outside doormats with sloping edges
- Don’t leave items, such as hoses or garden tools, lying around the garden
- Dogs and cats like to be close, so check for pets before moving