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7 ways to prevent falls at home

Did you know…

 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling
 Falls are the most common cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
 1 out of every 5 falls cause serious injury
 1 in 3 people over 65 years old will experience a fall in the next year
 Falls are the most common reason for nursing home placement

Knowing these statistics can completely change your outlook on falls. If you are falling often or feel like you are occasionally off balance then it is essential you do something about it. It is often that we see people (in Physical and Occupational Therapy) after someone has had a bad fall and often has broken bones.

By this point, we are not only attempting to rehabilitate the injury but also going back and fix the main thing that caused the fall, which is often balance and strength. If you have even minor balance or strength issues, we first recommend contacting a Physical or Occupational Therapist for an assessment to see just how bad it might be. Within minutes we can perform special tests that can tell us very quickly if someone is at a high fall risk.

However, we know that not everyone will be picking up the phone to their local therapist, so here are a couple of tips to help make your home as safe as possible for you to help avoid falls.

1. clean up clutter and remove tripping hazards

Keeping things tidy and well kept around the house can prove to help prevent falls. Here is a list of things you can do to make sure your environment is safe and functional:

  • Keep objects off of the stairs
  • Remove old newspapers and magazines
  • Remove slippery floor rugs
  • Repair loose carpets
  • Fix loose or uneven steps.

2. Install grab bars and handrails

The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls to occur. So making this as safe as possible is essential to home fall prevention. Installing grab bars will allow for extra support getting into and out of the tub or shower.

Next, let’s install handrails next to the toilet to help with getting up from the seat. Lastly, make sure handrails are installed at any stairs to make getting up and down as safe as possible.

3. Avoid wearing loose clothing

While this one seems it would be obvious it is often times overlooked. Baggy clothes can increase your chances of falling. Pajamas tend to be the biggest culprit here and cause the most falls with long robes or baggy long pants.  Make sure your clothes don’t drag on the floor providing a tripping hazard.

4. Provide enough light

Installing brighter lightbulbs can significantly brighten a room making it easier to walk around and avoid bumping into objects.

Adding nightlights to bathroom and bedrooms can also help for those pesky midnight bathroom runs.

5. Make it non-slip

Wearing shoes or non-slip socks while at home is great for grip, stability, and protection. Without the grip, it is easy to slip on a little water on the floor after doing the dishes.

Also, think about adding slip-resistant rugs next to the bathtub for safe entry and exit. Inside the tub, you can use a non-slip mat or non-skid strips to help increase traction on the base of the shower.

6. Live on one level

Of course, this is the ideal scenario but not possible for everyone. If it’s not possible to live on one level then limit your trips up and down the stairs.

7. Move more carefully

Take your time walking and getting around. Always consider your safety first and try not to be in a hurry when possible by allowing plenty of time for activities and getting ready.

 

Video courtesy of ZMB Media (Thank you!)