Falls are a serious issue for seniors. While the average person can have a fall and recover almost instantly, a simple fall can have grave consequences for seniors. Falls can lead to broken bones, can cause head injuries, and a fall incident can make you fearful of falling and impact your quality of life going forward.
This is one of the main reasons why fall prevention in the home is so important. Falls are medical events that need to be taken seriously.
Falls Happen More Often Than You Realize – And With More Severe Consequences
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Your home is somewhere where you should feel most comfortable, especially for seniors who want to remain at home in their retirement years and remain independent. To maintain their health and independence, it’s important to make their homes fall proof. Here are some important tips to reduce the odds of you having a fall at home:
This may sound like common sense, but many of the causes of falls are simple tripping hazards. Make sure shoes are removed from the front door, telephone and power cords are properly stored away from common walking areas, and other items put away so they don’t become a hazard. Even something as innocent as a pet’s water bowl can cause you to take a tumble.
Arrange the furniture in your home to create a clear path that allows you to walk freely from room to room. This is particularly important for seniors who use a cane or walker. The more room you have, the less likely you will bump into something.
Whether you spill something on the kitchen floor when making dinner or you come in from the outside while it was raining, it’s very important to clean up any wet spots in your home. Wet spots are especially slippery.
You can’t avoid what you can’t see. Having proper lighting in all areas of your home will help you see a potential tripping hazard before you have a fall. Make sure you have proper lighting in hallways, stairways, and outdoors.
Installing grab bars throughout your home will help you get around easier. Installing them in your bathtub, beside the bed and adding additional handrails on stairs will provide you with the extra support you need.
Bending over to reach something in a lower cabinet or reaching for an item on the top shelf can be a fall waiting to happen. Rearrange commonly used items in your home so you can easily access them without having to strain.
Floor surfaces can be slippery and are a common cause of falls among seniors. Installing non-slip strips on your floors will help create more traction for you. Install them in front of the kitchen sink, on stairs, the bathroom floor and in the bathtub to ensure you have the traction you need to safely move around. It’s also important to make sure carpets and rugs are secured to the floor with double-sided tape so they don’t move.
The winter months are a particular challenge for seniors. You not only have to worry about tripping hazards inside, but also outside of your home. If possible, have someone come and salt or sand your steps and walkways. Taking preventive action is also important during the winter. If you don’t need to go out on a snowy day, stay home, or at least get someone to help you.
Following these tips will help make your home safer, help you prevent common slip and fall hazards, and give you the peace of mind in knowing that you are doing everything you can to be safe and comfortable in your own home.
Know Your Limits and Stay Within Them
It’s also important to understand your physical limitations and listen to your body. Avoid trying to do things that are too strenuous on your body, ensure you are properly rested, and take a break from what you are doing if you start to feel tired or winded. Many falls happen when seniors try to overexert themselves. Know your limits.
Rather than trying to do something you know you will have trouble with, call for help. Asking for help is much better than having a fall – especially when it’s preventable.
Prevent a Fall Before It Happens
Falls are preventable. Therefore, it’s important to take proactive steps to eliminate tripping hazards in your home. Remember, one fall can change your life.