Falling is quite common as we get older and fall prevention is an important topic for older people. A small accident such as slipping on a wet floor or tripping on a rug can change your life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults resulting in cuts, fractures, and even fatal brain injuries.
However, falling is not a normal part of aging. The good news is that you can prevent falls and stay steady on your feet by making your home safer, doing the right exercise, and getting regular healthcare checkups. Here is the guide to preventing falls and staying safe.
Clear up the clutter
Keeping your home neat and clean is a good way to prevent falls. Declutter your home, particularly staircases and hallways. Put away if there is anything on the floor that may obstruct your path. Rearrange or remove furniture to ensure that it doesn’t block pathways between rooms. Eliminate anything lower than knee level.
Make it non-slip
Millions of older adults fall while taking shower. Make your bathtubs and showers non-slip as they can be very dangerous when wet. Install self-adhesive stickers or get non-stick mats to prevent slipping in the shower when the floor gets wet. Also make the floors non-slip in the kitchen, porches, and other areas of the home.
Secure loose area rugs
Rugs and floor mats can be trip hazards. Use slip-resistant backing or double-sided carpet tape on all floor mats and loose rugs around your home to prevent secure rugs and avoid slipping and falling.
Wear the right footwear at home
Choosing the right pair of shoes to wear at home will help fully support your feet. Buy a pair of house sneakers that are comfortable, low-heeled, rubber-soled, nonskid, and slip-resistant. Do not walk on the floor and stairs in socks or shoes with smooth soles.
Improve lighting in your home
Poor vision is one of the leading causes of falls. Improving the lighting in your home is the best way to lower the chances of falls. Brighten up your home using some extra lamps. Open the curtains during the day and turn on the porch lights in the evening so that you can easily and safely move around your home.
Regular vision tests
Eyesight changes with age and it can lead to a trip or falls. Get an annual eye examination if you are concerned that vision loss is increasing your risk of having a fall. It will identify any vision issues earlier before they lead you to lose your coordination and balance.
Keep frequently used products at eye level
Daily used items should be placed in easy-to-reach areas. You may need to rearrange products around the home. But avoid keeping products too high that they need a stool to access them. Many falls happen when a person climbs up to reach stored items in high areas.
Exercise is important to prevent falls in older adults. Coordination, balance, and flexibility worsen as we age. Fortunately, there are various balance-boosting and strengthening exercises that will help you keep your independence such as walking, yoga, and chair exercises. In the morning, take brisk walks and practice your balance. Working on the balance each day will help prevent falling.
Slow down and take your time
Walk slowly around your home and outside when moving from one place to another. Although sometimes you are in hurry, the best way is to slow down. It will help lower the risk of falling.
You should take fall prevention seriously as it can save your life. Following the above-mentioned guidelines will help lower the incidents of falls. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to an occupational therapist, if necessary. You can learn more helpful fall prevention strategies from an occupational therapist. Many preventive measures are inexpensive while others may require a larger investment. Keep in mind that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.