Critter Corner: Home Modifications for Fall Prevention


Dear Angel,

We just found out that my father will be moving in with us. He is in his 70’s, has Parkinson’s, arthritis, and is in a wheelchair a lot of the time. We don’t have much money to renovate, but we want to make sure our home is safe and comfortable for him. Also, if it is too much for us to handle alone, who can we call for assistance?


Reema D. Ling


Dear Reema,

There are lots of simple modifications you can do to make your home safer for your father that don’t cost a lot or are completely free. By making some minor adjustments, your father can move into your home and hopefully live safely, comfortably, and independently, among his loved ones.

The following are a few simple modifications from the AARP Home Fit Guide, that will help to decrease the likelihood of falls and to make your home all-around more accessible for your father:

• Pick up any clutter that can cause your father to trip, such as newspapers, books, shoes, clothes, electrical cords, and phone cords.

• If you have throw rugs, remove them or use double-sided tape or non-slip pads underneath to secure them.

• If you have stairs, consider installing handrails on both sides.

• Add lamps, light fixtures, and night lights where needed to improve visibility. Consider installing motion sensor lights outside the front and back doors and in the driveway.

• Get some non-skid bath rugs for the bathroom floors, put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub/shower and install grab bars inside the tub/shower.  Consider getting a hand-held adjustable shower head installed and purchasing a shower or bathtub seat so your father can shower from a safe seated position.

• Organize your kitchen cabinets so things are within easy reach. Make your cabinets and pantry easier to access by installing pullout shelves or turntables.

• Since your father uses a wheelchair, adapt your home by installing ramps on entrance steps, and mini-ramps to go over high entrance thresholds. You can even widen the doorways an additional two inches by installing “swing clear” offset door hinges.

• To make things more comfortable, since he has arthritis, replace round doorknobs with lever handles, round bathroom faucets with lever faucet handles, and knobs on cabinets with pull handles.

If you are not handy or need professional guidance to make your home accessible for your father, please consider the following:

• Think about hiring a Professional Organizer to help you organize and declutter, making rooms less crowded and therefore less of a fall hazard. You can find a directory of Certified Professional Organizers (CPO) by visiting the website

• Find an Aging in Place Specialist to make your home accessible. You can find a directory of Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) by visiting the website of the certifying organization – the National Association of Home Builders, at

Of course, if you live in the DC metro area, be sure to check out the Trusted Referrals listed on our website.

Hope this helps!


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