top of page

Home Safety

Those diagnosed with Parkinson's will often struggle with mobility impairments. Many homes aren't designed to help those with PD use mobility aids or are at a high risk of falling. Hallways that are less than 36 inches wide, slippery flooring in a kitchen or bathroom, and even transitions between carpet and hard flooring can all pose safety risks. If you and your loved one wishes to age in place, you can complete some helpful modifications to make the home safer.

Both long-term care insurance and some government programs help pay for home modifications. Each has its own eligibility requirements, so you should start by contacting your private insurance agent and by learning more about HUD Home Improvement Loans. The VA also offers Aid and benefits for home safety modifications.

As more and more people with Parkinson's and their care partners are choosing to age at home, performing a home safety assessment can help you make sure that your home has minimal fall hazards to enhance safety and encourage independence. Overall, there are some simple modifications that can take place throughout the home with less commitment of time and money. Here are some to consider:

  • Declutter: Look around the home for potential hazards, such as extension cords, or gathered clutter and address them. Consider placing a container in each room where you can put items that don't have a place, rather than leaving them on the floor.

  • Anti-slip Mats: Slippery floors can be a hazard, especially in the bathroom or kitchen where water increases the fall risk. Add anti-slip mats on the bathroom floor, as a backing on throw rugs and in the shower or tub.

  • Handrails: Adding handrails and grab bars in the bathroom and in hallways can protect against falls. They also make it easier to navigate the home independently.

  • Lighting: As eyesight diminishes when we age, ample lighting is important, especially in darker places like hallways. Install light switches in convenient areas or use motion sensors that turn the lights on automatically when someone enters the room. Make sure there is significant lighting in all parts of the house. Add lamps or night lights that are accessible with easy to flip switches. Keeping rooms well-lit can also reduce shadows that can impact some hallucinations. Using lamps that are available by touch or sound can also help with lighting.

  • Furniture: Sharp furniture edges increase the risk of injury when falling, so place clear bumpers over the edges and make sure all chairs are steady - preferably without wheels.

  • Special Knobs and Window Pulls: It can be difficult to turn doorknobs or operate window pulls. Replacing these with lever handles or chains may be easier to use.

  • Accessible Shelving: Add shelving in pantries and closets with most common items used with easy access to avoid the need to bend or climb.

  • Ramps: Consider adding a ramp where there are steps for entering/exiting the home.

  • Bathroom: A bathroom has numerous potential hazards. Enhance safety with anti-slip mats, grab bars, and anti-scalding devices on faucets.

  • Doors and Entry Ways: Make sure doors and entry ways are at least 36" for easy wheelchair access. Pantries should be easily accessed.

  • Floors: If there is any furniture that is in or near a walking path - be sure to remove it. If you have throw rugs / mats on the floor, make sure they are secured with rubber matting. Make sure all cords and wires are out of the walking paths to avoid tripping and look for abrupt tripping hazards between carpet and hardwood flooring transitions. 

  • Electrical Outlets: Need to be functioning, easily accessible and preferably waist high.

In this section of the resource center, we take it room by room to set up your home for safety, including how to plan ahead for emergencies. We provide guidance on Home Safety Assessments and the importance of using Aging in Place Specialists for any contracted upgrades. There are also many new technologies for the home that help to promote safety. Finally, we highlight some of the government and community programs that can offer assistance with your home modifications financially.

Disclaimer: The Parkinson Association of Alabama stresses the importance of home safety by offering the following awareness and education. However, the PAA cannot be held liable for any falls within the home, or guarantee the endorsement of product brands or services as related to home safety.

bottom of page