Article Written By Scott & Stacey Fischer, Options for Senior Living
Everyone should take part in Fall Prevention Week and learn the warning signs as they relate to falls or avoiding falls for seniors. Whether you are a companion, family member, or caregiver, the following will provide several areas to help you mindfully assist those who may have tendencies of falling. This year, Fall Prevention Awareness Week is September 22 through 28. Visit www.stopfalls.org for more information.
Let’s start with tips for making a home safer from falls:
- Remove clutter by keeping the house clean. Keep high-traffic areas clear, especially hallways, staircases, bathrooms, and kitchens.
- Repair tripping hazards that can lead to injury; look for items such as loose carpet, slippery throw rugs, or wood floorboards that stick up.
- Install grab-bars and handrails. These safety devices are crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bathtub without injury.
- Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing that can make falls more likely. Opt for better-fitting and properly hemmed clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the ground.
- Light it right. Create a home that’s well lit; install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways. Add night-lights in bedrooms and bathrooms for better guidance at night.
- Avoiding a fall is as simple as wearing shoes at home. Socks may be comfortable, but they present a risk of slipping. Purchase non-slip socks that have grips on the soles of the feet if shoes are too uncomfortable.
- Make bathtubs and showers as well as areas where floors can become wet, like kitchens, bathrooms, and porches, safe with non-slip mats.
- Move more carefully. Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. One can stop falls like this by taking their time. Pause after going from lying down to sitting and from sitting to standing. Also take a break before using the railing on stairs, whether going up or down.
Keep in mind — there are preventive measures you can take daily that will decrease your chance of a fall:
- Make your scheduled appointments with your health care provider a priority.
- Ensure you keep your appointments, whether they are annual visits or more frequent.
- Treat all ailments, wounds, and symptoms immediately.
- Listen to your doctor and pharmacist when taking medications to ensure you are taking them as prescribed and on time.
- Know the warning signs listed on medication labels and follow the instructions for consuming.
- Eating right and following a balanced diet will help you keep alert and focused.
Also, staying fit with regular exercise of some type is important; five to ten minutes a day can make more of a difference than you can imagine. Consult specialists in the field for the fitness and nutrition programs that will fit your needs and lifestyle.
Simply making a few adjustments to your everyday life and habits can help prevent a fall and avoid serious injury.