Fall Prevention Includes Safety-Proofing Your Home
Falls occur every 68 seconds in the U.S.; and many involve injury, hospitalization, nursing home care, permanent disability and death. What will you do to implement safety into your environment?
Safety-proofing your home is a great place to start to prevent injuries that occur from these falls; but other things like medications, muscle weakness, and poor balance can cause falls as well.
Check with your Dr to see if you are taking any of the medications that can cause poor balance, inner ear problems and muscle weakness. Just a few of the culprits are: Alzheimer, sleep, pain, and high blood pressure medications.
If you find you have poor balance or muscle weakness, talk to your Dr. about implementing a supervised exercise routine to learn functional exercises, as well as, strength and balance techniques.
Test your mobility by taking the, “Get-up and Go” test.
1. Sit in a chair with armrests and stand up slowly using the arms.
2. Stand momentarily, and then take 10 steps forward.
3. Slowly turn around and return to the chair.
4. Turn around again and sit down.
5. If you can do this in 20 seconds, you are at low risk for falls.
Once we fall, we get into a “fall cycle” that includes fear of falling, followed by decreased activity, muscle weakness and limited mobility which increases future falls. As you can see preventing falls through education, testing and prevention, can help to keep you and your family safe from falls and injury.
Here’s a list of thing you can do to make your house safer for you and your family.
- Move frequently used items to make them easier to reach.
- Move pet bowls out of your walking area.
- Avoid slippery floors.
Living and Family room:
- Remove throw rugs or used double-sided tape to keep corners flat.
- Remove all floor clutter.
- Keep your furniture arranged so you have wide pathways.
- Don’t walk with multi-focal lenses because it distorts distance.
- Raise dust ruffles and bed spreads so you don’t trip on them.
- Keep all electrical cords away from your walking area.
- Use emergency lights in all rooms in case the power goes off.
- Insure all pathways are unobstructed.
- Use non-slip strips and hand rails in the shower or tub.
- Use non-slip bath mats on the outside of your showers and tubs.
- Use long handle sponges to wash, so you don’t have to bend.
- Make sure all entry ways are well lit.
- Illuminate steps with glow-in-the-dark strips.
We need to do all we can to prevent falls and injury, so take the time to make your home safe. Please add your great ideas for fall prevention and safety-proofing your home.
Pam wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Osteoporosis.