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Resources

Tip sheets



Helpful products

There are many handy products available to help you reduce accidents and falls at home.

Product Advantages Tips Suppliers
reacher Reacher Helps to avoid bending over, and decreases risk of dizziness, blood pressure changes, pain in joints etc.
  • Make sure you have your Reacher available and on hand.
  • Store in an easy- to-reach location.
Drug stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers
reacher Long shoe horn Helps to avoid bending over, and decreases risk of dizziness, blood pressure changes, pain in joints etc. Helps get shoes on securely.
  • Keep your shoe horn in the same place where shoes are put on.
    • Store somewhere it can be reached easily.
Drug stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers
reacher Glow tape Can help identify the edges of steps and areas or at night
  • Adhere Glow Tape securely to a walk surface, with no loose edges
  • Apply enough tape so it can be seen clearly in the dark.
Hardware stores.
reacher Bath strips Self adhesive non-slip strips for the base of the bath or shower. Helps to avoid slipping. This can be better than some non- slip mats.
  • Always exercise care when getting in and out of the bath or shower.
  • Beware of oily bath products – these can make surfaces extra slippery.
Hardware stores, drug stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Carpet tape Double sided tape that helps to keep carpet edges down and secure loose carpet flooring.
  • Check that the tape secures carpet enough to stop it slipping.
  • It may be better to remove a loose mat.
  • New flooring might be a better solution.
Hardware stores.
reacher Folding walking stick A walking stick is always handy – especially if the environment becomes more challenging. A folding stick is easier to store when not in use and isn’t as likely to fall over.
  • Check the stick is the correct height for you to use when it is unfolded.
  • Speak to a professional about how to use the stick effectively.
Drug stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Grab bar Provides support when transferring from a lower surface, or helps to stabilize and maintain balance when at risk of over balancing. Comes in different lengths.
  • Employ a skilled tradesperson to securely mount to the wall.
  • Grab bar must have a non-slip grip surface and a large enough diameter for a good grip.
  • Position away from wall with space for your hand.
Hardware stores (you may need the help of an occupational therapist to decide where a rail should go.)
reacher Non-slip mat Reduces the risk of slipping while standing in a bath or shower.
  • Buy a good quality mat, as they can still slip in contact with soapy water
  • Make sure the water can drain away from underneath the mat during use.
Hardware stores, drug stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Shower seat (wall mounted) Saves energy and minimizes the chance of falling when standing in the shower.
  • Buy a good quality shower chair, as it need to be stable and strong enough to hold full body weight.
  • Consult with a builder to install securely.
Bunnings, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Shower chair Helps to save energy and minimize chances of falling in the shower.
  • Check the space available in the shower recess before buying a shower chair.
  • It is best to select a shower chair with arms and a supportive back.
Hardware stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Head torch Allows you to light up outdoor areas at visual height. If used with a hand-held torch will light up the path ahead. Is especially good for steps and stairs.
  • Change batteries on a regular basis.
  • Keep a spare supply of batteries on hand.
Hardware stores
reacher Infrared wall light Light is activated by a movement sensor – there’s no need to use a switch. The infra red wall light can be mounted anywhere where light is needed.
  • Make sure the batteries are changed regularly.
  • It may be better to have a night- light on the whole time.
Hardware stores.
reacher Night light Keeps important areas illuminated at night to avoid misjudgements. Some are movement sensitive.
  • Use night-light in a plug socket where it illuminates the floor area.
  • However, try not to have to bend down to plug it in and out.
Hardware stores, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers.
reacher Halogen globes Provides better light than a traditional globe. Lasts much longer so cuts down on times that globes have to be changed.
  • Allow time for maximum brightness. Halogen globes need to warm up before getting to their best level of illumination.
  • These may cost more than traditional globes, but last longer.
Hardware stores.
reacher Sand additive Can be added to paint or varnish to make walking surfaces more non-slip.
  • Make sure that the compound it is being added to is also as non- slip as possible. (Not a high gloss finish).
Hardware stores.
reacher Safety flex Heavy duty non-slip strips for outdoor use. Helps to avoid slipping on outdoor steps etc. Helps identify the edge of the steps.
  • Make sure the strips are securely adhered to the floor surface
Hardware stores.
reacher Shoe products A number of products are available to help make shoe soles non- slip – e.g. adhesive soles, non-slip compounds.
  • Products should be securely fixed to the sole of the shoe.
  • It may be better to purchase shoes with better soles initially.
Hardware stores.
reacher Low handled pet bowl Allows feeding of pets without bending to put food bowls on the floor.
  • Adequate balance is required to handle this product.
  • Pets should be restrained (if hungry) while food is being prepared to avoid them getting under foot.
Various suppliers on the internet.



Services for seniors
Myagedcare Up-to-date information about Australia's aged care system including in-home and residential aged care services and information about eligibility, assessment, and financial entitlements. https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/
Council on the Ageing NSW COTA NSW Provides leadership in social policy, healthy ageing, community information and education for all older persons in New South Wales. https://cotansw.com.au
Council of Social Service of NSW Provides a comprehensive range of topics, information and resources on ageing and aged care. http://www.ncoss.org.au/
Australian Senior Network A media network that appeals to retirees, and those actively planning for retirement. http://australiansenior.com/
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Supporting over 700 church, charitable and community-based not-for-profit organisations that pr older Australians. http://www.acsa.asn.au/


Health & lifestyle
Senior Services Guide A search engine services for seniors. http://www.seniorservicesguide.com.au/
Getting walk today Walking and healthy ageing. http://walking.heartfoundation.org.au/
Active and healthy Information for exercises group in NSW. https://www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au/


Advocacy & information
Rights of Older People Advocacy Group Provide a combination of advice, education, policy development and representation initiatives related to older people. http://www.agedrights.asn.au/rights/home.html
National Aged Care Advocacy Line Free, independent and confidential advocacy support and information to older Australians. https://agedcare.health.gov.au/support-services/the-national-aged-care-advocacy-program
National Seniors Australia The national voice for older Australians. https://nationalseniors.com.au/
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information related to the NDIS. https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites/NSW.html
Council of the Ageing Provides leadership in social policy, health ageing, community information and education for all older persons in NSW. http://cotansw.com.au
Council of Social Service of NSW Provides a comprehensive range of topics, information and resources on ageing and aged care. http://www.ncoss.org.au
Department of Social Services – Ageing Information on age-related topics. http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/ageingand-aged-care


For caregivers
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Provides free and confidential information on local carer support, disability and community services. https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and- carers/programmes-services/for-carers/commonwealth-respite-and-carelink- centres
Carers NSW Information and support for carers. http://www.carersnsw.org.au
Carers NSW Helpline Information, advice, support and advocacy for carers. http://www.carersnsw.asn.au



Research Articles

Mackenzie, L. & Byles, J. (2018). Scoring the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool for health professionals (HOME FAST-HP): Evidence from one epidemiological study. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 65, 346–353.

Vu, V., & Mackenzie, L. (2012). The inter-rater and test retest reliability of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 59, 235-242.

Romli, M., Mackenzie, L., Lovarini, M., Tan, M.P., & Clemson, L. (2017). The inter-rater and test-retest reliability of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST) in Malaysia: Using raters with a range of professional backgrounds. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 23, 662-669.

Hassani Mehraban, A., Mackenzie, L., & Byles, J. (2011). A self-report tool was able to identify older women at risk of falls in their home environment. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 64, 191-199.

Mackenzie, L., Byles, J., & Higginbotham, (2000). Designing the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST): Selecting the items. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, (6), 260-269.

Mackenzie, L., Byles, J., & Higginbotham, N. (2002). Professional perceptions about home safety: Cross-national validation of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST). Journal of Allied Health, 31, 22-28.

Mackenzie, L., Byles, J., D’Este, C. (2009). A longitudinal study of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST) to predict falls in older community dwelling people. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 28, 64-69.

Romli, M., Mackenzie, L., Lovarini, M., & Tan, M.P. (2016). A pilot study to investigate the feasibility of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST) to identify older Malaysian people at risk of falls. BMJ Open, 6:e012048.

Mackenzie, L. (2017). Evaluation of the clinical utility of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39(15), 1489-1501

Higginbotham, N. (2002). Reliability of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOME FAST) for measuring falls risk for older people. Disability and Rehabilitation, 24, 266-274.




For Health Professionals

Printable Home FAST assessment