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Fall Prevention Tips Back
Did you know there are simple ways you can modify your home to keep you safe from dangerous falls that may lead to serious consequences? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three seniors experience falls every year that lead to injuries such as hip fractures, broken bones, cuts, and even serious head and brain injuries. As you age, these falls may become more possible due to physical changes that impair mobility or balance, health conditions that cause dizziness or other symptoms that contribute to a fall. So what can you do now to reduce your risk of falling?
Make a Plan
Let’s get started! Take a good look around your house. There are easy, simple things you can do today that will greatly decrease your chances of tripping or bumping into objects. Here is a quick checklist you can use right now to take a tour of your home and make necessary adjustments to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Look at the floors in each room. Do you have to walk around any furniture when walking through a room? Ask someone to move the furniture so your pathways are clear. Do you have throw rugs or mats? Remove the rugs, or use non-slip backing so rugs won’t slip. Are there stacks of paper, blankets, or other decorative objects on the floor? Pick those items up and begin storing those elsewhere from now on. How about wires or cords? If your lamp wire is a tripping hazard, coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall to prevent a fall.
If you have stairs or steps inside or outside your home, it is vital that you keep them clear of shoes, papers, or other objects. Are they in good repair? If any steps are broken or uneven, they will need to be fixed. Is the lighting for your stairs adequate? Add lighting and make sure bulbs are changed promptly to help light your path well. Are the handrails loose or broken? Make sure to get them fixed, and it is always helpful to have handrails on both sides of the stairs when possible.
Looking around your kitchen, are the things you use most often in your reach? Organize your kitchen to the things you use the most are on the lower cabinets. Have a sturdy step stool available should you need to reach.
Bathrooms can be a dangerous place in many ways. Is your tub or shower floor slippery? Put a non-slip rubber mat down to help as you bathe or shower. Getting in and out of the tub/shower or up from the toilet may require installing grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.
There are a few simple fixes that can make your bedroom a safer place to navigate. Insure that the light near your bed is close and easy to reach when you need to get up at night. Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark? Put in a night-light or leave the bathroom light on at night so you can see where you are walking.
There are other measures you can take to help prevent falls. Exercising regularly increases strength and improves your balance and coordination. Discuss side effects of medications you take with your doctor. Some medications can make you sleepy or dizzy. Have your vision checked annually. When you get up after sitting or lying down, make sure you do it slowly.
If You Do Fall
Part of a fall prevention plan is making sure you can get help if you unfortunately experience a fall. Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone. Make sure a phone is near the floor in case you fall and are unable to get up. You may even consider wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.
Although fall prevention might not be the most exciting aspect of your life to focus on; having a fall prevention plan in place will keep you up on your feet, allowing you to spend more time on the activities you love doing!