5 Tips to Help Avoid Falling at Home
20-30% of Canadians over 65 will fall at least once this year, making this the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among this age group. Falls are problematic as you get older, as they can cause anything from cuts and bruises, to hip fractures and even serious head injuries.
Luckily, however, there are several simple tricks that you can start doing to reduce your risk of falling. These tips should be applied throughout your home, but particular attention should be paid in the bathroom, where a combination of water and getting in and out of the bathtub can make falling more likely.
Keep your home well lit
Keeping your home brightly lit can help you avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see. At night, try using nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms, and keep the switch to your bedside lamp within easy reach. Furthermore, be sure to store flashlights in easily accessible places for use during power cuts.
Remove tripping hazards
Falling becomes much less likely when there’s less to trip over. Keeping floors and stairs clear of items such as coffee cups or stacks of magazines is therefore a quick and cheap way to decrease your risk of falling.
Home fixtures are another common cause of tripping. So, look out for loose carpet, slippery rugs, sticking-up floorboards, and loose cables throughout your home, then be sure to repair or remove anything that could be dangerous.
Watch out for the water
A major cause of slipping in the bathroom is a wet floor. So, make sure you put down an absorbent bath mat before your bath or shower – and make sure you pick it up again once you’re done, as the mat itself can be a tripping hazard. It’s also a good idea to use a non-slip rubber bathmat, which you put in the bathtub or shower to make it less slippery.
Loose clothing can cause you to trip and fall, so opt for fitted clothes that are properly hemmed and don’t drag on the floor. Wearing shoes around your home instead of just socks can also make you more sure-footed. And if you don’t like the idea of wearing shoes inside, socks or slippers with rubber grips on the bottom are also a good option.
Consider mobility aids
Getting around safely might be easier with the help of a mobility aid. There are lots of different types of these so you can pick what suits you best, but they can include canes, walkers, and rollators.
Adapt your home
If you find that these small changes aren’t enough, you may want to consider adapting your home with more specialized equipment. What this equipment is will depend on your specific needs but might include grab bars for getting in and out of the bathtub; a bath or shower bench; or even a walk-in bath.
Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of falling. It’s therefore important to be able to call for help in the event of a fall. Many people who are worried about falls wear an alert pendant round their neck. These discrete pendants allow you to press a button that notifies caregivers when immediate help is required.