Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Avoid falling so you can RV longer

As I write this, a fellow RVer is on the way to the hospital. She fell. Not outside. Not on her RV exit steps. No, she was inside the RV at the time. Falls happen, especially as we age. There isn’t a way to turn back the clock. However, there are helpful tips to avoid falls and RV longer.

Easy ways to avoid falling (hopefully)

Age-related falls

As we age, our muscles can become weaker. Bones often become brittle. Add to that the fact that reaction time is often slower and you have a perfect recipe for a broken hip! What’s more, a fall is often more deadly in an older person because it takes longer to recover.

Keep in shape

  • Muscles. One way to reduce the probability of falling is to keep muscles strong. Physical work and/or working out with an exercise program can help keep muscles supple and powerful, even as we age. Concentrate on exercises that focus on strength, balance, and flexibility. A health professional can suggest a workout program that’s best for you.
  • Bones. Talk with your doctor about scheduling a bone density test. The doctor may suggest you take calcium supplements to build up your bones. (I had such a difficult time choking down the enormous calcium tablet prescribed by my doctor. When I mentioned this to him, he suggested I take a calcium chew, like Viactiv, which is so much easier!)
  • Reaction time. You can improve your reaction time through cognitive training exercises. Online programs like Lumosity or CogniFit have games and activities to improve your reaction time and brain flexibility. You can also improve your reaction time by playing video games, learning to speed read, performing eye exercises, and more. Ask your doctor for suggestions that are best for you.

Get your RV in shape

  • Lighting. If your coach or trailer is an older model, consider replacing existing lights with LED lights. You can’t avoid a hazard if you can’t see it! In addition to brighter bulbs, place nightlights in the hallway and bathroom(s) for better visibility at night.
  • Eliminate trip hazards. Falls can happen, no matter your age. That’s why it’s important to remove loose rugs, clutter, and electrical cords from the floor. Use non-slip mats or rugs with rubber backing. Pay attention to thresholds between rooms and slide-out transitions. Work to make any uneven floor surfaces as smooth as possible.
  • Grab bars. Install grab bars near the toilet and shower. Put handrails on both sides of your interior and exterior RV steps. These aids provide stability and support while moving around the RV.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. It’s important to wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes with non-slip soles. Shoes and slippers should fit snugly to remain securely on your feet, especially when ascending and descending steps.
  • Organize. Store frequently used items within easy reach. This eliminates the need for a step stool. Store heavier items at waist level to prevent strain when reaching or lifting.
  • Ban clutter. Keep living areas and walkways clean and clutter-free to minimize the risk of tripping. Keep commonly used items in easily accessible spots that are not obstructed by unnecessary objects.

Outside the RV

  • Safe spotter. If you must use a ladder, be sure to enlist the help of a spotter. This person can steady the ladder and hand and/or take items you need so you don’t have to climb up and down the ladder.
  • Step stool. If you have difficulty reaching the fifth-wheel hitch, use a step stool or telescoping ladder rather than climb up and attempt to balance on the truck tire. Ask for help if you feel unsteady or uneasy about performing chores around your rig.
  • Slow down. Falls are often avoided simply by taking your time. Remember! There’s no prize awarded for being the first to hitch up or unhitch your rig.
  • Keep it neat. Just like removing clutter inside your RV, do all you can to ensure the outside of your rig remains clutter-free. If possible, keep hoses close to the RV so you don’t trip over them. Arrange chairs and other outdoor items to allow for open walkways. Provide a designated spot for toys, sports equipment, and other camping gear.

Take care

  • Vision and hearing checks. Poor vision and hearing can contribute to falls. Have regular eye and hearing exams to make sure you have the appropriate corrective measures and devices.
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can lead to dizziness and instability. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.
  • Medications. Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, increasing the risk of falls. Review medications with a healthcare provider and be aware of any potential side effects.

Can you list additional tips to avoid falls and RV longer? Please comment below.



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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3 months ago

Elderly individuals usually fall because their hip has broken. They do not fall and break their hip as is the popular belief.

3 months ago

Thanks Gail. These are excellent reminders and suggestions. Time marches on…. wish we could retain all those limber joints and ligaments. Still beats the alternative!

Diane Mc
3 months ago

Regarding taking calcium. Someone told me to look into AlgaeCal. She had a friend that used it and her bone density numbers improved. After reading about it and also some of the negative side effects of Calcium, decided to switch. Much easier to swallow, too.

3 months ago

What I noticed is that as I get older, I do not often retain in my memory what I see although my field of vision has not changed. Therefore, forget what your mother told you about good posture. Walk looking down in front as you walk. People do not trip over things they see, only what they do not see (assuming no balance problems) and forgetting something you saw as you walk is the same as not having seen it.

3 months ago

Better entry steps, majority of rv’s come with steep , shallow & uneven spaced steps. The morrides are better but steep. Tork lift revolution the best we found. Expensive yes so is the ER.

Neal Davis
3 months ago

Thank you, Gail. So many great suggestions; thank you! One implied suggestion that I think is never explicitly stated is that one must admit to oneself that aging has slowed, weakened, and generally made one more susceptible to injuries (and illness). If this is unacceptable, then many, if not all, of your suggestions should be pursued. (About three years before my father died (two weeks short of age 91), he stopped being physically active and began merely sitting during his waking hours. His ability to walk, look after himself all deteriorated rapidly. It was as though he’d quit. I guess he was tired of the struggle. Alternately my father-in-law gets hurt and sick partially because he refuses to accept that he cannot do as much. He routinely does too much, gets hurt or sick, and takes long to recover. Yet, he does little of what you suggest. He’s frustrated, as are we; he because he can’t do and we because he attempts too much.

3 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

I understand. Acceptance of our limitations and staying as active as possible will allow all of us to RV longer and stay safer, too. Thanks for your insightful comments, Neal.

3 months ago

I use battery pillar candles in my trailer as nightlights, either on the timer or on all night. Also mini battery votives, Xmas mini battery string lights or fairy lights inside or wrapped around awning supports, or obstructions like logs or rocks near RV steps – enough light to avoid objects yet won’t be light pollution.

3 months ago

I can’t agree more about shoes. Toss the slip ons with no ankle support whether slippers or shoes. Slip on sneakers or other shoes again with ankle support seem to be fine. The other is bend with your knees. Seems as we age just bending over can cause dizziness and we revert back to when we were toddlers our upper body out weighs our lower causing us to topple over. And cleats on the bottom of your shoes when maneuvering over ice and snow. This is from several falls I’ve had during winter time.

3 months ago
Reply to  Skip

Seeing someone get behind the wheel, wearing flip flops, drives me nuts. That is as crazy as texting behind the wheel. Stay far away from them.

Bob P
3 months ago

The biggest thing for me is Quit Shuffling When Walking! I guess as I get older I don’t pick up my feet when I walk, instead I guess I have been shuffling. A bad fall happened last New Years Eve when walking through the kitchen of our house when I tripped over a flat rug after refilling my ice water mug, landing on my chest and arm I was very limited to what I could do, even sleeping at night hurt if I slept in any position except my back, luckily nothing was broken just badly bruised. Now 6 months later sometimes I still get a reminder of that fall when I reach for something high with my right arm.

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

My wife tells me EVERY DAY that I’m shuffling my feet, “just like your mom did”. Of course, I get tired of hearing it – but she’s right. This is especially noticeable when we’re hiking or walking off road.

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