Fall-Proofing The Home for Safety
Few things are more important than assuring your loved one is safe at home. But did you know 6 out of 10 falls occur in the home?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Senior Health division, many of these falls are preventable. And a few simple steps can help fall-proof your loved one’s living space.
Next time you visit, scan the home for potential hazards such as:
- Unsecured scatter rugs or doormats;
- Uneven, broken or missing steps (either inside or out);
- Electrical wires and extension cords in walkways or other high-traffic areas;
- Lack of handrails on one or both sides of stairs;
- Clutter, especially near stairs;
- Tall/steep steps;
- Dim lighting, especially on stairs indoors and out.
Many simple fixes are as close as your fingertips, the local hardware or home supply store.
A few things to try to prevent falls:
- Remove scatter rugs, especially if unsecured;
- Rearrange furniture to make walking easier, especially if balance is an issue;
- Store frequently used items in easy-to-reach places;
- Install grab bars in the bathroom and shower/tub;
- Install railings on both sides of stairs;
- Ensure rooms and stairways are well-lit;
- Install nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, kitchen or any high-traffic area;
- Keep a flashlight near the bed;
- Consider motion detectors that cause lights to come on when someone walks by;
- Walk slightly in front of someone who’s unsteady when descending, or behind when climbing, stairs;
- Keep floors dry and clean up spills right away;
- Use only non-skid wax on floors;
- Encourage your loved one to wear non-skid footwear if floors seem slippery;
- Urge your loved one to move slowly and deliberately to maintain his/her balance.
For additional ideas, view this short video from NIH’s Senior Health division and remember that little steps toward greater safety can make a very big difference for your loved one.