Falls in the home can happen at any age, but the chances of serious injury resulting from a fall increase as we age. Six out of every ten falls occur in the home, which makes taking action to prevent falls vital to our wellbeing and the safety of family and friends. Often we tend to move about in our homes without considering the hidden dangers that exist that could cause a fall, but there are changes you can make to your space that will help you avoid accidents and ensure your safety.
Stairways And Hallways
Many stairways have a single-hand railing on one side; however, adding handrails to both sides of the stairs is recommended to prevent falls. Handrailing should be examined regularly to ensure it is tightly fastened and anchored. Use the bars every time you go up and down the stairs, even if you are carrying something in one hand, and ensure that what you are holding doesn’t block your view of the stairs.
Keep your stairways and hallways free from clutter, such as shoes, clothes, and other items. If you have carpets or stair runners, make sure they are firmly affixed to the floor so they won’t slip. While small area rugs are not advised, the use of no-slip strips can help you keep them in place on wooden and tile flooring.
Installing a hand railing by your shower or tub and next to the toilet will give you something to grip while maneuvering in the bathrooms. Rugs that have rubber no-slip backing are best in these areas, never place towels on the floor to step on as they are prone to cause slipping.
Keep your bathroom well lit at all times; a night light can safely guide you in the middle of the night. Ensure your toiletries and towels are at arm’s length and easy to access; you may choose to use a small shelf or basket system instead of taller above the sink options.
Other Living Spaces
Consider how you move around your home and make sure your paths are free from clutter, cords, and furnishing. Arranging your furniture and everyday objects so that they accommodate an unobstructed pathway around your home is advised, especially for elderly homeowners. Less is more when ensuring your interior spaces areeasily maneuverable, keep clutter and small objects to a minimum.
Quick Fixes To Prevent Falls
Using grabbing sticks can help you reach the items you need that are stored in high spaces. Many people fall due to overreaching or climbing on step stools, so lowering your most needed items to an easier-to-reach height can help prevent a fall. If you live alone or are elderly, consider using an emergency alert system that can call relatives and emergency operators in the event of a fall.