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Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors living in the United States. According to the CDC, each year, 2.8 million older Americans are treated in an emergency department after having a fall. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by a fall and falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in older people. Falling is also the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths in the United States, with more than 25,000 people dying from a fall-related injury each year.
It is estimated that more than 60% of falls occur in the home. This rate is even higher among the elderly, because they tend to spend more time in the home. Many falls could be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes or changing the design of your home.
This article will share a few simple tips to fall proof your home and improve the quality of your life!
Remove clutter from around the home
Clutter can obstruct your path in the home and increase the likelihood of a fall. Remove any unnecessary objects on the ground including books, vases, potted plants, boxes, electrical cords, magazines, phone cords, and debris.
Make sure flooring is smooth and free of trip or slip hazards
Rugs may make a space feel more comfortable, but they are also a trip hazard. Remove unnecessary rugs or secure them to the floor with double sided tape. Make sure the underside of the rug is slip resistant. Push on the rug and see if it slides on the floor. If it does slide, place a rubber mat under the rug to make it slip resistant. Look for any other issues with the flooring in your home including like frayed carpet, ripped linoleum or lifted floorboards. Consider adding non-slip coatings to steps and placing rubber mats in certain locations.
Be aware of the side effects of your medication
Some medications carry side effects that can make a fall more likely. If you are taking a medication that lists dizziness, vertigo, or balance issues as a side effect, take additional precautions to avoid having a fall.
Add handrails to your home
Handrails help a person to maintain their balance and navigate difficult terrain. Handrails should be added to the bathroom, stairs, and ramps within the home. They can also be added to the garden path so the homeowner can safely go outside and enjoy some time in the garden.
Wear comfortable shoes that are the right size
While this tip might sound a bit silly, wearing the incorrect shoes can cause a fall! Make sure your shoes or slippers are the right size, comfortable and have good traction.
Pay close attention to bathrooms
The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the home for slips and falls. Most bathrooms have hard surfaces that become slippery when wet, particularly when coated with soap! Use rubber mats in the bathroom and add handrails. If you struggle to bathe yourself or use the toilet, ask for assistance.
Use plenty of lighting throughout the home
Falls often occur because a home owner simply can’t see a trip hazard in front of them. Have plenty of light sources in the home and opt for high-wattage globes that provide a high level of illumination. Have light switches at every entrance point to a room so you don’t have to walk across a dark room to turn a light on. Make sure all stair wells are particularly well lit, and have a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. A lamp or light switch should also be located next to your bed, so the room can be illuminated before moving. It’s a good idea to have night lights installed in all available outlets throughout the home.
Address health conditions when possible
Health conditions that affect your eyes, ears, legs or feet make you more likely to fall in your home. Ask for help from your doctor and make changes around the home to reduce your risk of falling. For example, if you have a problem with your vision, remove potential trip hazards that are difficult to see and increase the number of lights in your home.
Make sure spills are cleaned up immediately
Spills are a common source of slips in the home. Clean any spills immediately and ensure that rooms where water is common (the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry) have rubber mats in place.
Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
Eating well helps you to maintain your strength and walk more confidently around the home. Nutritional deficiencies may increase the risk of a fall and lead to weaker bones that break more easily should a fall occur.
Organize the home’s furniture to make moving between rooms simple
Many falls occur because a person accidentally trips on a piece of furniture. Avoid this by organizing the furniture in your home so it does not obstruct your path as you move between rooms. You shouldn’t have to weave your way around furniture as you move throughout your home.
Staying physically fit can help you avoid falls around the home. Go for walks and enjoy low-impact forms of exercise like swimming. By staying active, you can maintain your balance, strength, and coordination.
How All Heart Home Care Can Help
All Heart Home Care provide trained Caregivers who work in the client’s home. Our talented caregivers can perform many tasks to reduce the risk of a fall occurring in your home, including:
- Organizing the home
Our caregivers can make sure the furniture in the home is correctly placed to reduce the risk of a fall. They can also remove trip hazards from around the home.
- Domestic duties
Caregivers can perform general domestic duties around the home. They will cleanup any spills that occur and keep the floors clean. This can greatly reduce the risk of a fall.
- Helping the client move around the home
Caregivers can help the client safely move from one room to another. They can also help the client with other difficult tasks including showering, getting dressed, and using the toilet.
- Cooking meals
Our caregivers can cook meals in the client’s home or deliver pre-prepared meals. They are delicious meals that are specifically designed to match a senior’s nutritional requirements. They will give you more energy and help you move around the home more easily.
- Transportation to doctor’s appointments
Caregivers can provide transportation to doctor’s appointments and social gatherings. This helps to ensure you have any medical issues quickly taken care of — before they can result in a fall.
- Help with physical rehabilitation and exercise
Our caregivers can help you perform exercises that help you to remain healthy. By staying physically fit, the risk of having a fall is greatly reduced.
- Home safety assessment
Upon starting home care services, All Heart Home Care will complete a home safety assessment and make recommendations of changes that should be made to your home. This is an important component for seniors whom want to age in their own home.
- Organizing the home
If you are interested in learning more about fall proofing your home and our services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-940-6561. We offer in-home consultations and would love to discuss the many home care services we provide!