Fall proofing your house: a checklist

To Reduce Fall Risk: Start at Home

For the older adult worried about falls, one of the most important tasks is to "fall-proof" your house. There are numerous services you can retain to come in and install grab bars, improve lighting, and do various other things to help make falls less likely.

But how do you know they have done the right things? And, if you are the friend or family of an older adult, how can you do a "check" to make sure the house of the person you care for is relatively well "fall-proofed"?

Lisa Brinkmann, Executive Director of the Marin Villages, has developed a "home assessment" check list, working with a group of older adults living in Marin. This fall prevention home assessment checklist is reprinted below.

You can use this checklist to see how well your house is fall proofed, and to guide decisions about what to improve when it is time to think about making a house more senior friendly.


Checklist for Fall-proofing your house

Think of this checklist as a room by room "cheat sheet" for thinking about how well a house has been made senior friendly. Most of the items in this check list are important for "fall-proofing" the home, thereby reducing fall risk. The "member" is the older adult whose house is being "assessed".

Exterior entrances and exits

  1. Are walk and drive surfaces even?
  2. Is there a curb cut?
  3. Are there handrails at the steps?
  4. Are the handrails in good condition (Left, Right)?
  5. Is there light in the driveway, walk, porch?
  6. Do door and window locks work?

Interior doors, stairs and halls

  1. Are doors wide enough for walker / wheelchairs?
  2. Are there railings along the stairway? (And are they in good condition?)
  3. Are there steps in the house? Is it easy to see the change in the steps? Is it easy to notice the first and last steps?
  4. Is there adequate lighting? (Right level)?
  5. Are there light switches at both ends of the stairs? Hallways?
  6. Is there clutter in the hallways or on the stairs?
  7. Is it easy to notice differences in the floor / carpet surface?


  1. Are basin and tub faucets, shower control and drain plugs manageable?
  2. Are hot water pipes covered?
  3. Is mirror height appropriate, sit and stand?
  4. Is member able to reach shelf above, below basin?
  5. Is member able to step in and out of the bath and shower?
  6. Is there a bath bench in tub or shower?
  7. Are there grab bars for shower / tub access?
  8. Is member able to easily reach toilet paper? Flush toilet? Come from sit to stand posture?
  9. Is space available for caregiver to assist?
  10. Is there good lighting of the room, and for tasks (eg makeup etc)?


  1. Is kitchen adequately lit?
  2. Is there task lighting?
  3. Can member comfortably reach / use sink and counter? Too high?
  4. Are shelves and storage in reach of member?
  5. Are "most used" items at level easily reached?
  6. Are under sink hot water pipes covered?
  7. Is there under-counter knee space?
  8. Is there a nearby surface to rest hot foods on when removed from oven?
  9. Are stove controls located in rear or front of stove?

Living, dining, bedroom

  1. Do chair, sofa, bed heights allow easy transition from sitting to standing?
  2. Do rugs have non-slip pad or rug tape?
  3. Do chairs have arm rests? (to support when standing)?
  4. Is member able to turn on light, radio, TV, place a phone call from bed, chair, and sofa?


  1. Is member able to hand-wash and hang clothes to dry?
  2. Is member able to access automatic washer / dryer?
  3. Are detergents and wash materials within easy reach?

Telephone and door

  1. Is phone jack location near bed, sofa, chair?
  2. Is member able to get phone, dial, hear caller?
  3. Is member able to identify visitors, hear doorbell?
  4. Is member able to reach and empty mailbox?

Storage space

  1. Is member able to reach closet rods and hooks?
  2. Is member able to open bureau drawers?
  3. Is there a light inside the closet?


  1. Are opening mechanisms at 42 inches from floor?
  2. Are windows easy to lock? Easy to operate?

Electric outlet and controls

  1. Are there sufficient outlets?
  2. Are outlets at reachable height?
  3. Are outlets located in convenient areas on wall?
  4. Are there any extension cords hazards?

Heat, light, ventilation, security, carbon monoxide, water temperature control

  1. Are there smoke, CO detectors, and a fire extinguisher/
  2. Is the thermometer display easily readable?
  3. Can member access environmental controls?
  4. Is member able to open windows?
  5. Is member able to slide patio doors?
  6. Is member able to open drapes or curtains?


Curated Insights on Falls

This article is part of our series on Curated Insights on Falls. For our Curated Insights series, the Longevity Explorers team of Citizen Analysts is searching the Internet for the best available answers to what they see as "the critical questions on falls to which seniors seek answers."


View other Curated Insights on Falls.


Get your own (printable) Falls "Checklist"

Learn whether a house is well fall-proofed, or not.

Use this checklist to decide what needs changing. Or after a professional has "fixed" things, to check they did a good job.

You will also get Tech-enhanced Life's (monthly) newsletter, containing insights, tools & technology tips that help postpone the time that growing older gets in the way of living life to the full. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Get a PDF version of this "Falls Checklist".


Reader Comments: "Fall proofing your house: a checklist"


from Nina Rea OTR/L CAPS (unverified) at January 28, 2015

This is a nice assessment tool, thank you for sharing it. I would add a question about general and task lighting  in the bathroom as well as grab bars for shower/tub access.



from webmaster (member) at May 01, 2015

Thank you. This is included in the article above now.


from Mercy Amali (unverified) at November 29, 2015

Great checklist. Is it possible to get a Spanish version of this checklist?


from webmaster (member) at November 29, 2015

we would be happy to post a spanish version of this list. But we need a volunteer to translate it. Any ideas?


from dstnks (member) at December 03, 2015

would be happy to do it if the copy i produce credits my name as part of the article and any reprints in spanish carries the credit as well. let me know.


Douglas Clark



from webmaster (member) at December 03, 2015

Hi Doug:

That would be excellent. I am not quite sure yet exactly how we will post this, but we will totally give you credit for the translation on the webpage and any printed version.

Maybe the best way to do this is to do a translation in a word document and send it to me at info [at] techenhancedlife.com

Or if you have other ideas send me an email there and we can figure something out.

webmaster, on behalf of Richard Caro


from [email protected] (member) at February 27, 2020

Excellent list!  You might add Pets: leashes, food and water dishes, etc.  People trip and fall over these routinely.  Thank you. -  Linda Meneken PT, CAPS, Community Educator on Balance and Fall Prevention since 2003  [email protected]


from MARTHA WOODS (unverified) at February 17, 2022

Does anyone have a recommendation as to most slip-resistant flooring for a bathroom and the shower floor? Or if you know of a reference on the topic?
Thank you!!


from Mindy Renfro, PT, DPT. PhD (unverified) at March 03, 2022

Very nice quick checklist. What do you think of the AARP's HomeFit Guide?

Discuss, Comment, Ask Questions


Key words: 
falls, fall-proof, falling

Last Updated: May 13, 2020.

Written by: Lisa Brinkmann.

Featured Research


Medical Alert Systems: Help

Medical Alert Systems GuideWe kept getting asked "which medical alert system is best?"; and "how do I choose the right medical alert system for me?". This independent, objective, hands-on research tries to answer those questions. If you are looking for a medical alert system, either for yourself or for an older adult such as a parent, this piece of research is for you.

Choose the Right Medical Alert System for YOU


Useful Apps Club

Useful Apps ClubUnlock the potential of your smartphone or tablet to improve your life. The Useful Apps Club is for older adults and Boomers who have a smartphone or tablet (or are thinking of getting one) and need help to turn it into a useful tool. We are focused on finding Apps that can change your life, and teaching you how to use them. 

View: The Useful Apps Club


Reduce Fall Risk

Avoid FallsRead the "best of the web" on: Avoiding Falling. Our team of clinicians and citizen analysts has scoured the web for the best available answers to a set of questions designed to help you make falling less likely, and make the consequences if you do fall less bad.

View: Avoid the Perils of Falling


Avoid Social Isolation & Loneliness

isolation and lonelinessOur community is exploring ways to avoid becoming isolated and lonely as we grow older. See what we are discovering — including one group of older adult's "recipe" for overcoming loneliness.

View: Isolation & Loneliness Hub


Medication Management Tools

medication management toolsPoor medication management is one of the key reasons people are forced to stop living independently. There are a wide range of tools that can help you manage your medications — and avoid, or at least postpone, that fate. We have researched which products work best for different types of people, ranging from simple inexpensive pill boxes and reminders to complex "automated" pill dispensers.

View: Medication Management Hub