According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. Falls can result in injuries ranging from hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls that just result in a bruise or two can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, and make it difficult for them to stay active.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to safeguard your home and prevent falls. Here are 5 easy ways to keep yourself safe from dangerous falls.
- Keep it clean. It’s hard at any age to keep your home clutter-free but can be more challenging for seniors due to illness or injury. Try to get a family member or friend help you keep the house picked up so there are no hazards, especially in small hallways. Shoes in the floor, dog toys, and stacks of magazines are the number one culprit so staying on top of the clutter will help to prevent any injuries.
- Lighting is key. Trying to maneuver through clutter is hard enough, but combined with poor lighting, it’s a recipe for disaster. Make sure to buy brighter bulbs for your home and use night-lights for better movement in the dark. Also, well-placed lamps will be your best friends in the battle against falls.
- Wear Shoes and socks. Regular socks may be comfortable for you in your home but can cause you to slip almost immediately. Wearing non-slip socks is the best way to go or even a nice pair of non-skid house shoes. If you have had a recent hospital stay or inpatient rehabilitation, ask for extra pairs of non-slip socks upon discharge.
- Fix those floorboards and carpet. Another sure way to fall in the home is having flooring hazards that need repaired. Loose floorboards and loose carpet are things that can be repaired for little cost to you and will save you in the long run.
- Living on one level. If it is feasible for you, try living on one-level of your home to eliminate falls on stairs. If that is impossible, try to limit the amount of times you use the stairs. Make sure to have almost everything you need close by so you’re not making so many trips upstairs or downstairs. Also, try reaching out to a church group or community group in your area that might help install a ramp on your home to make access into your house a little easier.
If you are set up with a home health agency for in-home care, they will more than likely do a home evaluation to make sure nothing in your home poses a threat for you to fall. Also, upon discharge from a Skilled Nursing Facility, the therapy department can do a home evaluation before you are discharged. There might be a senior safety group in your community that has more information on falling in the home and how to prevent it.
~ Aly Hamilton
Director of Marketing
Heritage Hall – Tazewell