Some falls are due to your advancing years. Others are due to safety hazards, many of which you can eliminate.
Safety Hazards You Can Fix
Start with a safety assessment of your home environment. If you can, have a friend or family member look at everything. Even better, contact an occupational therapist to do a walk-through. You’re used to how things are and fresh eyes will notice safety issues you might overlook. If you’re doing the assessment by yourself, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a brochure listing common hazards and tips to alleviate them.
The National Council On Aging also has a checklist you can use. If you rent, they suggest taking the list to your landlord if modifications are needed.
If It’s Loose, Secure It
The obvious hazards are loose cords and clutter, such as magazines, on the floor. You may be able to use shorter cords, but if not, secure the excess behind furniture or tape it down. Any loose objects, including pet toys, need to picked up and placed in appropriate containers. Throw rugs need to be secured with non-skid tape if you can’t do without them.
Do you have to walk around pieces of furniture, such as phone tables? If so, move them out of your walkway. Any wobbly furniture needs to be reinforced or moved away from where you might reach for it if you start to fall. Loose stair handrails need to be repaired. If you’re a little unsteady, grab bars at appropriate intervals can help prevent a fall.
Light Your Way
Invest in night lights and light switches that glow. Place a small, easy-to-reach lamp on your nightstand. Install lights at the top and bottom of your stairs and place tape you can clearly see on the edge of each step. If you have difficulty bending down to plug in lamps or appliances, you can have an electrician install outlets at a convenient height.
Bathrooms Are Slippery and Hard Surfaces
Your bathroom may possibly be the most dangerous room in your home. You can’t overdo the grab bars. Install them inside your shower and where you can reach them as you step out. They are also helpful next to the toilet.
Tub mats must be non-skid. If you don’t use a mat, purchase the stick-on strips and generously apply them in the tub. Shower chairs and hand-held shower heads have prevented many falls. Towels and grooming items need to be conveniently located.
Kitchen Safety Is More Than Food Handling
Keep the items you regularly use within easy reach, even if it means having them on the countertop rather than inside a cupboard. Stretching to reach things is an easy way to lose your balance. When you get seldom-used items from a high shelf, use a sturdy step stool. Standing on a chair is asking for trouble.
Help Your Body Help You
Some risk factors for falling come with the aging process. You’re probably not as strong as you once were and your reflexes have slowed. About the most you can do to minimize falling due to aging is be realistic about your capabilities. Be sensible about what you try to do and how you go about doing it.
Wear Eyeglasses And See A Physical Therapist
If your vision is impaired, have regular eye exams and wear prescribed eyeglasses. Even moderate exercise can improve your strength and your balance. A physical therapist can design a program that you can follow. A therapist can also teach you ways to avoid falling as well as how to prevent or minimize injury if a fall is inevitable.
Talk To Your Doctor
If your medications make you feel dizzy or disoriented, talk to your doctor. Reduced dosages or different meds can potentially resolve balance difficulties.
Caring Healthcare has been providing the absolute best in-home healthcare in the Columbia, South Carolina area for twenty-three years. Whether you need in-home care for an elderly relative, a special needs child, or a family member with a disability, we will design a personalized plan for you. Talk to us to see how we can help you.