Fall prevention is an important topic for seniors and their caregivers to discuss and implement. Aging brings about physical changes and health issues (not to mention the side effects of medications used to treat those issues) that can increase the likelihood of falls.
Most serious falls happen in and around the home, and can result in serious even life-threatening injury. Therefore to stay safe and maintain a level of independence, it is crucial to take these simple precautions to ensure your safety and reduce your risk of falling.
See your doctor
Make a list of your current medications and supplements (including over-the-counter) and review the potential side effects and interactions that could increase your risk of falling. Also discuss if you have a history of falling, when and where to help build a prevention strategy. Talk about your current health condition, whether you feel any dizziness or numbness when you walk, or your if your gait has recently become unstable.
Check your home
Make sure all handrails are intact and securely fastened, and that both sides of the steps have them. Check all floor boards are level, and secure all rugs to the floor with tacks, non-skid pads, or double-sided tape. Ensure safety in your bathroom (where it can be very slippery). Remove soap build-up regularly and place non-slip strips in your tub or shower. Install secure grab bars for the toilet, bath, and shower on walls. And fasten all bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape. Keep your floors (particularly in the kitchen where food spills) clean, and all room items that are used regularly within easy reach. Ensure that the lighting in your home is fully functional and utilize night lights and small lamps to help you see throughout your home.
Exercise (for your personal level)
Physical activity can help decrease the possibility of a fall. After getting your doctor’s approval, try light activities like water workouts, or Tai Chi. Gentle exercise can help prevent falls by improving strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. If you do not feel comfortable with light exercise, have your doctor refer you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can customize an oversize program that will fit your individual needs.
Check your shoes
Be sure to wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with non-skid soles to help reduce the risk of falls. Dress shoes, high heels, and floppy slippers can all contribute to slips and slides.
Just by employing a few of these simple tactics you can reduce the risk of falls and stay happy, healthy and safe in the comfort of your own home.