A few simple home improvement projects can make all the difference in keeping you safe from dangerous falls. You are much more likely to suffer an injury if you fall than you were when you were younger, so here are 9 ways to help prevent you from falling.
Adding rails and grab bars to places that are slippery when wet is an easy way to prevent falls.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of injuries in seniors, resulting in hip fractures, cuts, and even serious head and brain injuries that can be fatal. And even when there’s no serious injury, a fall can still be so frightening that seniors may avoid certain activities, such as bathing and showering, because they’re afraid they’ll fall again.
Whether it’s slippery floors, rickety stairs, or electrical cords, some of the most common causes of falls are in the home where you might have a false sense of security. That’s why fall prevention starts with creating a safe living space. This doesn’t have to involve a complete house remodel. You can make your home safe from falls with just a few basic changes. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent falls in your home:
- Clean up clutter.The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers and magazines, especially from hallways and staircases.
- Repair or remove tripping hazards.Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls, which can then lead to back pain and other injuries. Examine every room and hallway, looking for items such as loose carpet, slippery throw rugs, or wood floorboards that stick up. Then repair, remove, or replace those items for more effective fall prevention.
3.Install grab bars and handrails. These safety devices are crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bathtub without injuring yourself. Professionals suggest installing grab bars by toilets and bathtubs and handrails in stairways and hallways. Have ahandyman or family member help with this,if necessary.
4.Avoid wearing loose clothing.You want to feel comfortable at home, but baggy clothes can sometimes make you more likely to fall. Opt for better-fitting and properly hemmed clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the ground
5.Light it right.Inadequate lighting is another major hazard. To create a home that’s more suitable for the elderly, install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways. It is also recommended that you consider adding night-lights in bedrooms and bathrooms for better guidance at night.
6.Wear shoes.Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk. Preventing falls at home can be as simple as wearing shoes. You can also purchase non-slip socks that have grips on the soles of the feet if shoes are too uncomfortable.
7.Make it nonslip.Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches, can become extremely dangerous when wet. To prevent falls on slick surfaces, nonslip mats are highly recommend
8.Live on one level.Even with precautions like guardrails, stairs can present a significant falling hazard. If it is possible to limit your movements to one level of the house to avoid stairways, this is highly recommended. If it is not possible to live on one level, try to limit the trips you take up and down the stairs, as much as you can.
9.Move more carefully.Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Preventing falls like this is as easy as taking your time when switching from lying down to sitting and then to standing.For the elderly, fall prevention means injury prevention. Ask your loved ones to help you ensure that your rooms and stairways are clutter-free and well-equipped with lighting, handrails, grab bars, and nonslip mats to help you avoid falling — all of which can go a long way toward keeping you safe in your home. It’s a good idea to always keep your phone on your person just in case. In the event a fall does occur, stay calm and call for help, whether it’s a loved one or 911. Even if you manage to escape injury, you still should report the incident to your family practitioner so they can advice you on the best steps to take next to prevent future falls and possible injuries. Your house is your home and you should feel safest there.