Comfort is Knowing you’re Safe

The living room is most often associated with comfort. Luxurious couches, well-used recliners, and maybe even enjoying a meal with your feet propped up. Sounds nice, right? As the natural process of aging takes place, we usually spend more time sitting and less time on our feet. This increased sedentary lifestyle typically results in decreased strength, coordination, and balance; a recipe bound to result in more falls.

With so much time dedicated to one place, it’s no surprise that more falls occur in the living room than any other room in the home. However, with time and preparation, you can significantly decrease the chances of experiencing a living room fall, leaving you with a greater sense of comfort and peace.

Below, we will show you some of our favorite tools and strategies to keep your living room safe and comfortable. As always, we recommend consulting with an Occupational Therapist (OT) who can help identify and plan for falling hazards.

3 Main Causes of Living Room Falls

Clutter spread across the floor, cords strung in an open path, and loose rugs all present tripping hazards

Decreasing lower-body strength will make it more difficult to stand, especially with plush or worn-in cushions

Whether it’s bending toward the ground or reaching toward a coffee table, over-reaching can result in a loss of balance

How to Avoid Falling in the Living Room

Tripping and Slipping

    • Remove all clutter from the ground. Be sure that electronic cords and wires are not strung across walking paths or laid loose on the ground. 
    • Add slip-resistant backing to rugs. Even if rugs are on carpet they can present a slipping or tripping hazards. Remove rugs if they have curled edges and add slip-resistant backing to keep them flat on the floor.
    • Increase the size of walkways. Ensure that there is adequate walking space in all walkways. This includes between furniture such as a couch and coffee table.
    • Keep walkways well-lit. Install nightlights in walkways to increase visibility at night.
    • Use a walker or rollator for support. Many seniors use furniture or the items around them to stabilize as they walk. Walkers and rollators are much safer alternatives to provide walking support. For indoor use we recommend the Space Saver Walker, which can be collapsed to be four times smaller than the average walker.

Standing from a Chair

    • Use an assistive standing device. There are several standing aids that can be added to a living room chair to help sit or stand. We love the Able Tray, which combines a standing handle with a swiveling bamboo TV tray table.
    • If necessary, purchase a lift chair. For those with very limited mobility, a lift chair can help you balance and prevent you from falling forward. We recommend adding the Able Tray to your lift chair for extra support.
    • Install a transfer pole next to your chair. Transfer poles, such as the Universal Floor to Ceiling Grab Bar, are very useful tools to stand and transfer. They can be placed anywhere in the room so you have support where it’s needed the most.

Over-reaching and Bending

    • Keep items within reach. Much like falling out of bed reaching to a nightstand, seniors are at risk to loose balance when over-reaching to a coffee table or side table. This is another instance when an assistive device, like the Assist-A-Tray, comes in handy to keep remotes, drinks, and electronics on a swiveling tray.
    • Use reaching tools to pick up items from the ground. Bending over toward the ground can cause loss of balance and lightheadedness. Using a reacher eliminates the need to bend over. 
    • Use a Lever Extender on recliners. If you have an old-school recliner with a wooden lever, it can be difficult to reach the lever and get enough to leverage to effectively raise the leg rest. Lever Extenders can increase leverage and eliminate the need to strain your body by over-reaching.