Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults and can have serious consequences for health and independence. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of falls at home. Here are five ways to avoid falls:
Remove tripping hazards.
One of the major causes of falls at home is tripping hazards, such as loose rugs, clutter on the floor, or electrical cords. Removing these hazards is an essential step in preventing falls. It's important to walk through each room of the house and look for anything that could cause someone to trip or lose their balance. This can include items like throw rugs, pet toys, shoes, or magazines.
If there are throw rugs in the home, it's important to make sure they are secured with non-slip backing or double-sided tape. If possible, it's even better to remove throw rugs altogether to eliminate the risk of tripping.
Electrical cords should be secured along baseboards or out of the way, and any clutter or objects that are not needed should be removed from walkways. Stairs should be clear of any clutter or objects that could cause someone to trip, and stairways should be well-lit.
Removing tripping hazards is a simple and effective way to prevent falls at home and reduce the risk of injury or hospitalization.
Install grab bars and handrails.
As people age, their balance and coordination may decrease, making them more prone to falls. Installing grab bars and handrails in strategic areas can help provide stability and support, reducing the risk of falls.
Grab bars should be installed in areas where people may need additional support, such as near the bathtub or shower, near the toilet, and near any steps or stairs. These bars should be firmly anchored to the wall and able to support a person's weight.
Handrails should also be installed in areas where people may need to use stairs, such as in the stairway or along the hallway. Handrails should be placed at a comfortable height for the user and should be securely fastened to the wall or the railing.
When installing grab bars and handrails, it's important to choose ones that are sturdy and able to support the weight of the user. It's also important to make sure that they are installed properly and anchored securely to the wall or railing.
By installing grab bars and handrails, older adults can maintain their independence and reduce the risk of falls, even if they have decreased balance or mobility.
Improving lighting is an important step in preventing falls at home, particularly in areas like stairways, hallways, and entrances. Poor lighting can make it difficult for people to see where they are going, increasing the risk of tripping and falling.
To improve lighting, consider installing brighter bulbs or adding additional lighting fixtures in areas where there is not enough light. Motion-sensor lights can be particularly helpful in areas like hallways and entrances, turning on automatically when someone enters the room and providing additional illumination.
It's also important to make sure that any switches or controls for lights are easily accessible and easy to use. This can help ensure that people can turn on the lights when they need to, and that they can do so safely and without difficulty.
By improving lighting, older adults can make their homes safer and reduce the risk of falls. This can help them maintain their independence and continue to live in their homes for as long as possible.
Wear appropriate footwear.
Wearing appropriate footwear is an important factor in preventing falls at home. Shoes that are too loose or too tight, have slippery soles, or lack support can increase the risk of falls.
To avoid falls, older adults should choose shoes that fit properly, provide good support, and have a non-slip sole. Shoes with low heels are also recommended, as high heels can make it more difficult to maintain balance.
It's also important to avoid wearing socks or stockings on slippery surfaces like hardwood or tile floors. These surfaces can be slippery even with good traction on shoes, but socks and stockings can make the situation even more hazardous.
By wearing appropriate footwear, older adults can reduce their risk of falls and maintain their independence.
Stay physically active.
Staying physically active is an important step in preventing falls at home. Regular exercise can help improve strength, balance, and coordination, which can help older adults maintain their balance and reduce the risk of falls.
Exercise programs that focus on improving balance and strength are particularly helpful for reducing the risk of falls. These programs can include exercises like standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, or doing leg lifts.
It's important to choose an exercise program that is appropriate for the individual's fitness level and abilities. Older adults should consult with their doctor or a physical therapist before starting a new exercise program to ensure that it is safe and effective for them.
In addition to regular exercise, older adults can also stay physically active by incorporating more movement into their daily routine. This can include things like taking short walks, doing household chores, or gardening.
By staying physically active, older adults can improve their balance, coordination, and strength, reducing the risk of falls and helping them maintain their independence.