Simple steps minimizing falls at home

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Here’s a fact that should get your attention – falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries to adults 65 and over.  Even if a fall does not result in death, falls can dramatically reduce quality of life.  A fall resulting in a debilitating injury is what often can put people in nursing homes or to where they are unable to live on their own independently.

The majority of elderly people wish to be able to stay in their own home for as long as they can. But all it takes is one serious fall within or around their home that can be life-changing.    

To maintain independence, it’s important to be aware of how you can guard against falls.  There are many ways to make sure your home is safe and to recognize potential hazards that could contribute to a fall.  Here are simple steps to prevent falls from happening at home:

1.      Floor and rugs

· Clean floors of clutter and any items you can easily trip over.

· Check floor boards for evenness.

· Make sure area rugs are secured to floors with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape.

· Wipe up all spills immediately.

· Use non-skid floor wax.

 

2. Kitchen

· Have a step stool that has a bar at the top to hold onto.

· Keep items used frequently such as dishes and food items within easy reach.

 

3. Bathroom

· Have easy access into and out of both the tub and shower.

· Use non-slip mats in both the bath and shower.

· Add grab bars to your tub and shower walls or next to the toilet.

· Make sure bath mats are secure with non-slip, double-sided rug tape.

· Install adjustable height shower heads.

· Remove soap build-up in tub or shower regularly.

· Place a bench within the shower to be able to sit down if necessary.

 

4. Stairways

· Keep stairways well-lit and free of clutter on the steps.

· Place carpeting or non-skid pads on each step.

 

5. Lighting

· Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and stairways.

· Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.

· Have a lamp and telephone on a nightstand near your bed.

· Add solar-powered lighting around sidewalks leading to your house.

 

6. Safety in general

· Wearing rubber-soled shoes has better traction than wearing socks in the house.

· Be careful around pets as they can be a common cause of falls.  Look around yourself before making sudden moves to avoidtripping over them,

· Make yearly trips to the eye doctor to keep your vision sharp.

· Some medications have a side effect of dizziness.  Ask your doctor about this and ask whether a different medication can be prescribed.

· Work on improving your balance by doing physical activities such as yoga, Pilates, or tai chi.