Falls are the number one cause of injuries in older adults, resulting in more than 2.5 million emergency room visits and over 700,000 hospitalizations annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While falls may be common among older adults, there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk. One of the easiest factors you can control when reducing fall risk is your environment; fall-proofing your home can help ensure your environment is clear of any potential fall hazards.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when fall-proofing your home.
Get More Light
Because eyesight diminishes with age, it is important to make sure your environment has ample light to help avoid any obstacles in your path. Take a walk through your home and survey any hallways or corners that are dim and add light to areas where it is needed. Be sure to put a lamp next to your bed if you frequently get up in the middle of the night and store flashlights in easy-to-find places throughout your house in case of an emergency or power outage.
Keep Things Clear
Do your best to create clear walking paths by strategically arranging furniture and removing any items that could cause slipping or tripping while walking, such as chords, throw rugs, everyday clutter, and even small décor. If you are setting up lamps, keep an eye on the cords. Make sure all cords in your home are properly bundled and not at risk of being tripped on. Try using string to tie the cords together or use tape to secure them to the wall.
Invest in Non-Slip Items
Non-slip materials can make a huge difference when fall-proofing your home. It is always a good idea to invest in some non-slip shoes, socks, and slippers to wear around the house. Non-slip mats are especially essential in the bathroom. According to the CDC, most injuries in the bathroom, around 81 percent, occur because of slips and falls. In addition to the bathroom, do you best to ensure all rugs in your home are taped down or are equipped with rubber stoppers; that way they will stay put when walked on. If you use a walker or a cane, it may be best to remove rugs from your home entirely, as walking over flat flooring is easier and can prevent tripping.
Ensure that there are handrails throughout your house, especially in areas that are more challenging to access, such as the stairs, bedroom or bathroom. If your home does have stairs, double-check that the rails are secure and that there are no loose bolts. If getting out of bed is difficult, make sure you have a handrail or something to grab to help pull yourself up slowly and safely. If you can, adjust your bed so it is low enough to the ground and your feet touch the floor when sitting on the side of your bed.
Prestige Senior Living is here to help! Whether you have questions about fall-proofing your home or are interested in touring one of our communities, please contact us. Many Prestige communities are also offering FREE fall-risk assessments over the phone throughout the months of March and April. Find a location near you and call to schedule your free assessment today.