Easy, Affordable Ways for Older Adults to “Fall-Proof” a Home

You’re up … and then you’re down. Too often a fast fall in the home leads to a hospital trip, broken bones, or nasty bruises. Here’s innovation that can help. 

As we age, those falls come more often than we’d like. Statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than one-fourth of Americans age 65+ fall each year. 

The majority of those falls (60%) happen in the home. And, with older adults in the U.S., fall death rates rose by 30% from 2007 to 2016. About 36 million falls are reported by older adults each year; resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. 

Even more unsettling is the prediction that there will be seven deadly falls every hour by the year 2030. The CDC also reports that three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injury related incidents each year. Of that number, 300,000 are hospitalized for hip fractures. 

And, pay special attention if you’re a woman, because statistically women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.

It’s easy to identify the causes of fall hazards around the home. And in some cases, even easier to fix. However, aging adults need to pay attention and prioritize these fixes to assure their safety.

Fall Hazards and Solutions

Naturally, most people fall on the floor, but what causes the falls? 

Stray Objects. Loose throw rugs that slip under the feet, piles of collectibles, shoes or books that are trip hazards, and wires or cords that stretch across areas. All of these can be secured or removed to eliminate the problem.

Uneven surfaces. Sometimes the small threshold lip or dropped living room can be the biggest risk. Make sure they’re visible and have easy handholds nearby.

Wet threats. Slip hazards can also extend to the garage, wet pavement on the patio, walkway or even around a pool deck. One way to make these less treacherous is to seal the surfaces with a clear anti-slip coating such as TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer

The odorless water-based solution bonds firmly to all types of flooring materials, from concrete, masonry, stone and pavers, to tile, vinyl, linoleum and pre-painted surfaces --- indoors and out.

Interestingly, it was a fall of his own, on a slippery tile pool deck, that got Peter Daich, President of Daich Coatings Corporation, serious about developing an effective answer to the problem of slippery surfaces.

“When I slipped on those tiles, I hit the deck hard, and it hurt,” says Daich. “I was annoyed at myself for losing my footing, but was thankful I wasn’t injured. Then I thought about others, like children or someone elderly falling like I did, and not being so lucky.”

To Daich, the solution to the problem seemed obvious: give a property owner the ability to improve foot traction problems with no complicated steps or prohibitive costs. He developed a coating that could be applied almost anywhere by anyone, making the task of adding slip-resistance to walkways, steps, shower areas, pool decks and more, a no-brainer. “That’s how TracSafe was born,” says Daich.


Coatings such as TracSafe make bone-breaking falls less likely.

Softer Landings

When the worst does happen, and older people especially fall and hit the floor, the type of flooring also makes a big difference. Studies have shown that natural cork flooring is especially effective at absorbing impacts, reducing the likelihood of a bone break or fracture. 

As Matt Power, Green Builder magazine’s Editor-in-chief, has pointed out, “It’s important to prepare the house, not the ambulance driver.

“The commercials about “The Clapper” give the impression that if an older person falls and “help is on the way,” things will be okay,” he adds. “But that’s often untrue. Once a fall happens, a downward health spiral may begin.”

Power adds that along with the infrastructure of flooring and surface treatments, new wearable technology may help prevent people from missteps and even catch them with inflatable air bags before they hit the floor…but they’re still pricey and some seniors won’t wear them.

“At this point it’s probably best to make sure the fundamentals are in place,” he says. “Reduce slip hazards using absorbent materials, good design and the right coatings.”

Focus on Bathrooms

When thinking of fall risks in the home, remember the bathroom. Slips and falls in the shower, tub and on damp bathroom floors are also a hazard. Non-slip rubber mats or self-stick strips on tub and shower surfaces are a smart start to bathroom safety. 

People should never depend on towel hangers or toilet paper holders to sustain their weight. Instead, grab bars strategically placed in the shower, tub and near toilets are essential. 

Again, throw rugs should be secured with double-sided carpet tape … or better yet, get rid of them all together.

Senior Services of America recommends that, in addition to these ideas, seniors turn up the light in the bathroom and other rooms in the home. Increasing wattage in lights makes it easier to see trip hazards. And again, decluttering the bathroom helps reduce the fall risk. Something as simple as adding a shower caddy that holds shampoos and soaps in one place makes it less likely that a person will drop a container,requiring them to bend and then possibly slip in their shower.

Products such as TracSafe can be rolled on bathroom floors near tubs or showers. Other solutions around the home to add slip resistance include adding strips of anti-slip traction tape on steps or securing throw rugs with double-sided carpet tape.

If you’re ready to test your own fall risk, or that of someone you know, look at the “Stay Independent Checklist” from the CDC. Knowing your risk, and planning for it, can keep you safer in your home now and in the future.