Stairs and getting about the house

Are staircases and landings well lit?

Routes should be kept illuminated when they are in use and ensure that light switches are easily reached.

Is there a two way light switch present (e.g. a switch at both the top and bottom of stairs)?

Have an electrician fit a two way lightswitch. Consider the local council ‘handy person scheme’.

Do you feel stable when going up and down the stairs?

It is essential to have a handrail, even on small flights of stairs. Additional ones can be fitted by the local handyperson scheme. Consider minimising journeys up and down the stairs.

When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture?

Consider moving things so that your path is clear. Ask someone to help if needed and always use your walking aid as advised.

Do you hold onto the furniture when you walk around your house?

If you feel unsteady when you are walking, you might find yourself holding onto furniture to help you feel steadier. This can be dangerous as it can cause you to stoop and overreach.

If you feel unsteady and a walking aid helps you feel steady and keep active this it is your ticket to freedom.

Using a walking aid is not ‘giving up’, it is a way of enabling you to maintain fitness including strength, balance and stamina. All of which support independence.

If you are unsure which walking aid would meet your needs a mobility shop or the community rehabilitation can help advise on this.

Are there papers, magazines, books, shoes, boxes, blankets, towels, or other objects on the floor?

Pick up things that are on the floor and always keep objects off the floor. A ‘helping hand’ may reduce stooping / overreaching.

Do you have to walk over or around cords or wires (e.g. cords and wires from lamps, extension cords or telephone cords)?

Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so they are not a tripping hazard.  If possible have an electrician put in another socket.  Consider a fire home safety check from the local fire brigade who can provide advice and supply / fit smoke alarms if required.

Do you have a letterbox cage to avoid stooping to pick up your letters?

These are quite easy to fit, and apart from saving you from stooping, will also stop papers being spread across the floor just inside the doorway which could make you slip. (Available at DIY stores and handy person can fit)

Do you have loose rugs or runners on the floor?

Remove the rugs and runners or use non slip matting beneath the rugs to prevent them from slipping.

If you fall do you have a system for calling assistance?

A personal alarm pendant is a good way of doing this, and there are a number of schemes available  - see contact details

Are the carpets in good condition and not frayed?

Worn carpets are a major cause of serious falls and should be replaced or secured

Further Information

Fire Safety Advice

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home and test it regularly. Local fire services or handy man service can support with this. Assistive technology services can support with specialised alarms for those with sensory impairment