Each year, many adults aged 65 and older fall in their own homes. Falling is not an inevitable part of aging, but many things that happen as we age contributes to an increase in the number of falls. Preventing falls at home is possible. Doctors will say that by doing specific exercises, older adults can strengthen muscles and improve balance and reduce the possibility of falling. But improving physically is not the only change that can be made. Since many people fall while at home, there are simple improvements that can be made around the house to help prevent those situations.
A Clear Path No matter how young or old you are, or how strong or physically challenged, items on the floor present a tripping hazard. One of the quickest, easiest ways to help reduce the occurrence of falls is to make sure there is a clear pathway throughout your home. With the number of electrical devices we use these days, there is no shortage of power cords. Make sure devices rest near the outlets they are plugged into, and avoid running cords under rugs or through doorways. If you have a lot of extension cords, you might need to add outlets to your room to give you better access to your devices—whether they’re laptops or lamps—where you actually use them! You may not think to look at the actual flooring, but that can be a critical part of assessing a clear path. Look for uneven tiles, loose wooden floorboards, or rolled up carpets. For removable rugs, place nonslip mats underneath to make sure they don’t slide.
Get a Grip Falls can be prevented even while they’re happening. If you start to fall, your first reaction is to reach out with your hands to stop the fall, or grab something to hold on to. If there is nothing there, you may injure your hands, wrist or arms when you fall. However, if you install grab bars, particularly in the bathroom where it is slippery. Likewise, stairs should have handrails on both sides of the staircase and run the full length.
Light the Way You can’t avoid a tripping hazard in front of you if you can’t see it. Proper lighting is a great way to help reduce the number of trip-related falls in your home. Most of us already have bedside lights on a nightstand, but if the power is out for some reason, a great back up to have is a battery powered flashlight as well. If you don’t already have light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and at both ends of a long hallway, consider getting them added, especially if there is no natural light shining in through windows. If you needed to quickly move through these areas in the dark, the potential for falls increases.
Prepared in Case Even with all these modifications, falls might still happen. If that does happen, having a medical alert monitoring system in place is the best option. Since not every fall results in injury, a service like ours that allows you to pick who is called is ideal. Find out more about the in-home solutions we offer> Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Consumer Product Safety Commission