Staying independent

Creating a safe home

"I want to know what changes I can make so I can continue to live in it safely."

Outdoors and gardens

Need a little help to stay independent?

Age UK has a range of products and services from trusted partners that can help you to continue doing things for yourself.

Our tips

Here’s a list of things you can do to stay safe while you are outdoors to reduce the risk of slipping, tripping or falling.

Going outdoors

  • Be aware of the weather conditions and how they may affect your balance and grip when walking outside.
  • Pay attention to the path where you are heading so you are aware of any uneven pavement or other potential trip hazards.
  • If possible, have another person with you.
  • Try to avoid going outside in the dark or low light conditions.

In your garden

  • Make sure your washing line is at a practical height and accessible to avoid unnecessary bending and stretching.
  • Keep paths clear of leaves and overgrown plants.
  • Always put garden tools, rakes and spades away.
  • Move garden pots and ornaments away from the area where you walk to make sure you have enough space to move around outside.
  • Moss and algae can make steps slippery when wet. There are products available to rinse off and remove algae.
  • If you need to go outside and paths are icy, cover them in salt or sandy salt. Avoid going outside in icy conditions if possible.
  • When using power tools or an electric mower, make sure they are fitted with a residual current device (RCD). This shuts off the power if an electrical fault develops or if you accidentally cut through the cable.
  • Never use a ladder when you are alone, it’s far safer to have someone with you who can hold the ladder steady. If possible, have someone to climb the ladder for you.

Entering the house

  • If you have a high step to get in and out of your property, ask someone to fit an additional step and grab rail.
  • Put down any loads you are carrying before you attempt the step.
  • Get as close to the door as possible before you use the key, so you are not reaching.

Equipment that may help

There are lots of living aids that can help you move around outdoors, including a:

  • mobility aid, such as a walking stick - this may help you with your balance while you are outdoors
  • grab rail fitted next to your front or back door - this could assist you as you are stepping in and out
  • security light - this will not only add to your protection, but it will provide you with light when there is reduced natural light
  • portable ramp - this could be placed over your entrance steps to make it easier to enter your home if you have a wheelchair or walking aid.

Find out more about aids, equipment and adaptations to make your life easier.

Technology and apps

Here are some useful apps (applications) that you can download to your mobile device to help with your safety while out and about. Here are some suggestions:

Weather apps

Check the weather before you venture outdoors. There are plenty to choose from, here’s the BBC Weather app:

Locator apps

Use a locator app to make sure you let your family and friends know where you are. They can also use it to find you if you have a fall and need help.

Many messaging apps now have built in locator options, or you could download an app made specifically for the purpose from your phone's app store.