Each year 2.8 million older adults are treated for injuries caused by falling and serious injuries occur in 1 in 5 falls. Falling can be scary and potentially life threatening, fortunately there are ways to minimize the risk.
Most falls are caused by hazards in the home that are easy to miss.
Preventing falls on the floors of each room
- Have someone help you rearrange furniture or get rid of pieces you don’t need. This will help you navigate around a room more safely.
- Clean up the floor, and always keep objects on a table or counter. Books, towels, shoes or blankets on the floor are a huge hazard.
- Use double-sided tape, or a non-stick backing so small floor rugs don’t slip. Consider removing rugs all together to reduce the risk of falls.
- Tape cords or wires to the wall. If necessary, have another outlet installed to ensure that you are not walking around wires and cords from lamps or phones.
Preventing falls on steps and stairs
- Have you checked your steps for loose or ripped carpet and uneven steps? Replace the carpet with non-slip rubber if it is not firmly attached to the step. If any steps are broken or uneven, have them fixed or replaced.
- Replace or fix broken handrails and ensure that there are railings on both sides of the steps.
- Ensure that your stairways and hallways are well lit on both ends of the steps and hallways to avoid tripping.
- Clean up any books, shoes or other objects on the steps and make sure to always keep clear of objects.
Preventing falls in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Move frequently used objects onto the kitchen and bathroom counters or on lower shelves that you can reach without stretching.
- Make sure the entire tub or shower floor is covered with a non-slip mat or rubber grips.
- Be sure to have a bathmat for when you exit the shower or bath to prevent the floor from becoming slippery
Clean up the floor and always keep all objects on a table or counter like books, towels, shoes and blankets.
Preventing falls in bedrooms
- Be sure there are lamps next to both sides of the bed with working light bulbs that can be reached with ease.
- Install nightlights in each room and in hallways to ensure you can see where you’re walking once it’s dark.
Other ways to prevent falls
- Regular exercise will make you stronger and can improve both your coordination and balance.
- Wearing shoes all the time can reduce the risk of falling. If you must war slippers, make sure they have backs and a rubber base.
- Poor vision can increase your risk of falling. Have your eye doctor check your vision every year.
- Make a list of your medications (including over the counter) to review with your doctor. Some medications can cause you to become lightheaded or tired. Knowing the side effects of each medication is important.
- Hang shades or light weight curtains to reduce glare in rooms and add lamps or lights to any dark spaces.
If you are concerned about falling or a loved one falling, and have started to think about assisted living, schedule a time to meet us and take a tour.