Did you know that most falls happen in or around your own home? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year 2.8 million older people are in emergency departments for fall injuries. Whether you find yourself or your loved one at risk, consider the following changes around your home for fall prevention.
Consult your physician
Have a full history of your health conditions, current medications, and fall history. According to The Mayo Clinic, it is important to meet with your doctor to determine if current health conditions – or medications used for those conditions – could lead to potential falls. If you have a history of falls, determine which factors may contribute to your risk of falling. Muscle weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, or joint pain may result in falls.
Increased physical activity is an important part of reducing your risk of falling. Determine a good workout routine with your doctor or a physical therapist that will increase your strength. Find exercises and activities that increase your muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Exercises such as water aerobics, walking, or light weight lifting are a few good options.
Remove tripping hazards around the home
Make sure the most used areas in your home are free from clutter and tripping hazards. Rugs, cords, loose carpeting/ floorboards, or small furniture are all be stumbling blocks that lead to falls.
Replace dim light bulbs with high wattage bulbs to brighten each area of your home. Add night lights to bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms. This ensures you can see well, especially if you need to get up during the night. In case of emergencies, store flashlights in easy to reach areas around your home.
Wear sensible footwear
Find shoes and/or slippers that fit you well and have non-skid soles. This will give you a sturdy base when walking and help prevent stumbling. Socks should have rubber grips that stick well, especially on hardwood or tiled floors.
Use devices to make life easier
Use handrails or grab bars in areas of your home that you may need more support: near the toilet, in the bathtub, or on your stairs. If necessary, use a walker or cane when you need additional support in areas where handrails or grab bars are unavailable. Place non-slip mats in areas that may become wet, such as in front of sinks or toilets, and in the bathtub.
Stay well rested and get plenty of sleep. Not only will you help your overall health, you will prevent drowsy accidents such as unexpected falls.
Each individual and home is unique and it is important to find the best ways to prevent falls around your own home. Brainstorm with your doctor and family to decide safe and inexpensive ways to make your home a safer environment for you or your loved ones.
Helping Seniors Prevent Falls