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Avoiding Trips, Slips and Broken Hips…The Hazards at Home!!!


If anyone tells you they have never fallen over, that is a lie!!! We all fall over.  Children, adults and older adults will all fall over from time to time.  In fact, at least one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United Kingdom and of these at least 20-30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. We are on a crusade to reduce these numbers!

In older people, a lot of falls will happen within the home.  This has led to a lot of research into the main risk factors within the home that may contribute to the high number of falls within the elderly population.  And as a Physiotherapist who has been involved in Community Care, I can tell you that these are all issues affecting many homes belonging to older people. So what can be done….here are some simple things that can make your home a safer environment for everyone.


Did you know that a 60-year-old on average needs three times more light than a 20 year old?  Make sure the bulbs you are using a bright enough for excellent vision day and night – a high wattage is necessary.

2-way switches for hall/stairs/landing can also be a real bonus to ensure you are never walking in the dark on those pesky stairways.  And as many falls happen at night on those many nocturnal trips to the loo, always use a bedside light with an easily accessible switch.

Living areas

A huge problem in many homes are all those pesky trip hazards we leave lying around.  Think shoes in the hallway, cables for lamps and electrical equipment, and rugs!! It is so important to make sure all rugs and carpets are secure with non-slip underlay as needed.  You also need to make sure there are no frayed edges or lumps and bumps.

Make sure all clutter is put away, and NEVER store anything on the stairs.

Electrical cables need to be tidy and neat and avoid trailing wires across the floor. Tape any wires to skirting boards or use cable tidies or boxes to organise.

Kitchen and Bathrooms 

It seems almost too obvious to state that if you spill something, clear it up immediately, but this is so important to prevent slips and trips. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most likely places to find a wet floor – mop it up! Use a non-slip mat in the bath or shower and consider installing grab rails for the bath, shower and toilet.

In the kitchen, if you find you are continually reaching up for things, rearrange your cupboards so that frequently used items are within easy reach.


Another area where you can find hazards wherever you look…but the same rules apply.  Keep pathways free of leaves and moss, and always repair cracks in paving.  You may want to consider safety rails here as well…making the entrance to and from your property easier.  And lighting is important for outdoors as well as indoors, make sure your front and back doors and garage are also well lit.


A surprising number of people trip over their pets.  You could buy them a bright collar and a bell to alert you to their presence, and avoid tripping over them and hurting you both!

Personal Alarm system

There are a variety of personal alarm systems available for people at risk of falls, and there is also the option of carrying a mobile phone with you at all times – in the event of a fall it is nice to know that you can get help immediately.

So there you have it, a few simple changes you can make to ensure you are safer within your home.  If you feel unable to do these yourself, consider asking a relative, or even speaking to your GP to request a home visit by an Occupational Therapist for a home hazard assessment.  You can always speak to a friendly Physiotherapist about any factors relating to falls and balance - we are always happy to help and full of knowledge.  Keeping you safe is our number one priority!!



Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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