With aging, there becomes many more uncertainties and things to be aware of. The risk of of falls occurring is one of these. Experiencing a fall is a major concern for the elderly person concerned, as well as their friends, family, and neighbours. Falls do not only occur amongst the elderly, but also for people living with a disability and people who are recovering from an injury as well. In fact, everyone living in a home is at risk of a fall no matter their age or circumstance. Depending on the severity of the fall, there can be serious consequences and health repercussions.
There are many things that you can do around your home, or in the home of an elderly loved one, to reduce the risk of falls. Some of things are very simple and easy to do, but have may positive benefits. A little bit of time to fall-proof the home can lead to an increased quality of independent living for the elderly, disabled, or injured.
Keep some of these tips for reducing falls at home in the back of your mind for when they become necessary.
Repair or remove tripping hazards
The biggest triggers of falls do tend to happen at the feet. It is essential to examine each room closely and ensure there are no tripping hazards. These can be things like loose carpet, throw rugs that aren’t secured, and wooden floorboards that are sticking up. These should be repaired where possible, or removed, to increase the security of the home.
Implement non-slip methods
This is particularly relevant for the bathroom and shower. Investing in some non-slip pads will help you keep your balance on a wet and slippery surface. This is one of the most common places for falls to occur, and it can be easily prevented. You can get non-slip stickers for the ground, or a large bath mat. These are highly effective, easy to clean, and simple to maintain.
Often falls occur because of bad lighting at night. This is when your depth perception is compromised and you may not have as much confidence moving through the space. Make sure the light bulbs, especially in the hallway are well maintained. Also having lamps next to the couch and beds is useful so that you can go from one source of light to another.
Install hand rails in the bathroom
Once again, the bathroom is a place to pay attention to. Installing some railing fixtures beside the shower and toilet will make a big difference. This provides additional support when in the bathroom and when wet from a shower or bath. This will allow you to move more confidently from one point of the bathroom to the next.
Make step edges visible
To ensure you can see any steps or doorway bumpers clearly, line them with some high visibility tape. This will help you to pay attention to points where you need to lift your feet with extra care.
Maintain physical activity
At any point in life, whether you are aging or rehabilitating, it is important to look after your bones and muscles. Doing regular strength exercising practices such as tai chi or yoga will help you to improve your bone density, flexibility, and movement. All of this will help you to move with more confidence, improve your balance at the same time, and prevent any falls occur in the home.
Wear sensible shoes
The type of footwear you wear around the home can help to reduce falls. While it can be comfortable to wear socks or slippers, these are quite slippery. If you do want to wear these, choose ones that have grip functions on the base so that they provide additional support. Otherwise, wear proper fitted shoes, depending on your balance requirements.
Wipe up spills and de-clutter
Basic spills and clutter can cause a lot of hazards without you even noticing. It is important if you are at risk of falls that you maintain a clean and tidy environment. It is easy to knock some clutter off the bench and have it become a tripping hazard. Depending on your circumstances and your risk of falling, it is worth hiring a domestic cleaner to help you keep on track of all the chores around the home.
Eat healthy and drink regularly
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for a plethora of reasons, and it does help to reduce falls. Having a calcium rich diet and plenty of protein and antioxidants will help you to remain strong and healthy. All of this improves your overall well being and helps to prevent falls, or recover quicker if a fall does occur.
Only take prescribed or approved medicine
Certain medicines can have different side effectives or bodily functions that increase the risk of falling. Book an appointment with your GP and take a list of all prescribed and over the counter medicines you are taking. Talk to your doctor about concerns of fall and get the tick of approval from your doctor to keep taking these without increasing the risk. .