Home Safety Checklist
Many individuals with Parkinson’s Disease experience a fall, if not recurrent falls. In one study of people with PD, 60.5% had experienced one fall and 39% had experienced multiple falls. Many of these falls happen in the home. Here are some suggestions to improve the safety of your home and reduce your risk for falls:
Decluttering can make a big difference in moving around safely. Removing clutter can help to reduce tripping hazards as well as distractions which can be a cause for falls.
Remove throw rugs. Although accent rugs can provide character to your home decor, they are a tripping hazard even when they are anchored by a piece of furniture.
Install door lever handles instead of knobs. These are easier to open and can make negotiating a doorway easier.
Make sure you have at least one securely mounted wall handrail on stairs.
Avoid using chairs on wheels because they are not stable. Falls frequently occur when people fall backing up to sit down these types of chairs.
Keep walking pathways clear of all cords (electrical, telephone). These are a tripping hazard.
Put night lights in hallways between bedrooms and bathrooms. Falls can happen at night due to low lighting, especially when trying to maneuver to the bathroom when you are only partially awake.
Buy lamps that you can turn on and off with one touch or with sound.
Transitions in flooring can be a trigger for freezing which may lead to a fall. If there are transitions in flooring, like going from hardwood to carpet, you can try putting a brightly colored line of electrical tape at the threshold to give you a target to step over.
Install grab bars in the bathroom. It may be beneficial to work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist for placement recommendations.
Have a communication strategy for every room of your house. This could be carrying your cell phone or cordless phone with you, having a life alert pendant or having a telephone in each room.
If you have gas heating, install a natural gas detector. The sense of smell is often impacted in PD
Place the File of Life (folife.org) notice outside your house and the information on the side of your refrigerator so that first responders can access it quickly about your health conditions and wishes.