Nine Simple Tips to Prevent Falls in the Home
Everybody falls. From the time I was a little girl to now, I have had my fair share of falls—some even leading to injuries. As we get older, however, falls can have greater consequences. My grandfather recently opened my eyes to how a fall can affect someone’s life. He fell walking into his home and was not able to get up. The surprising thing to me was that my grandfather had spent many mornings walking around his neighborhood and exercising. He was in great shape, but one little trip, and he was on the ground. After spending several days in the hospital, he now lives in a nursing home.
According to Everyday Health, ONE out of THREE seniors will fall this year. Falls are the number one cause of injuries and hospital visits for older adults. And if a fall happens, it can result in fatal injuries, nonfatal injuries, or simply frighten seniors that they may fall again. Most falls occur inside of the home, but with a few simple changes, many falls can be prevented. Caregivers can help make this possible by having a conversation with your loved one about these tips, and by helping with simple home modifications that might be needed.
- Clean up the clutter– Keep the home neat and tidy, and don’t let things pile up, especially in hallways and on staircases.
- Repair or remove tripping hazards– Examine every room. Look for loose carpet, slippery rugs, or floorboards that stick up, and repair or remove them from the home.
- Install grab bars and hand rails– Grab bars and handrails are important for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bath tub.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing–Baggy clothing can also present a tripping hazard, especially if it drags on the ground or under one’s feet. Also avoid clothing with strings or decorations that can get caught.
- Light it right– Install brighter light where it is needed, particularly in stairways or narrow hallways.
- Wear shoes– If you are one to kick off your shoes and just wear socks around the house, consider that this increases your risk of falling. Shoes might be less comfortable, but they prevent falls.
- Make it nonslip– Get nonslip mats to prevent falls on surfaces that could be slick, especially in the bathroom or kitchen or by a front door, where floors are likely to get wet.
- Live on one level– Stairs can be a falling hazard, so if possible, consider living on one level.
- Move more carefully– Take your time when moving from a seated to a standing position. Sudden changes can affect your blood pressure and make you light-headed or dizzy, resulting in a fall.
These are nine simple tips that seniors and caregivers should pay attention to when trying to make a home a safer environment. Little changes can make a big difference for older adults, and fall proofing a home may prevent injury or even save a life.