Protect Yourself and Your Family: 5 Places in Your Home You Can “Fall-Proof” for the New Year
According to the National Safety Council, falls occur most commonly in:
- Crowded areas
- Areas with uneven surfaces
Among older adults, falls can result in serious injury and an increased risk of fatality. There are steps you can take to help prevent falls in your home or that of a friend or family member.
“Fall Proofing” Your Home
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following for families with older adults (but some of these also apply to homes with young children):
1) Look at the floors in each room. When you walk through a room, if you have to walk around furniture, have someone move it so the path is clear. If you have throw rugs on the floor, remove them or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing on them. Always keep objects off the floor. Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so they aren’t in the way. Have an electrician add an additional outlet if necessary.
2) Look at the stairs in your house. Always keep the stairway clear of books, shoes, papers, etc. Have all loose or uneven steps fixed. Have stairway bulbs replaced or have an electrician add overhead lights at the top and bottom of the stairway. Be sure there are light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs as well. Have the handrail fixed if it’s loose or broken.
3) Look at the kitchen and eating area. Move items you use frequently to lower shelves (households with younger children will need to be sure to still keep certain items out of reach). Never use a chair as a step-stool. If you must use a stool be sure it is steady and has a bar to hold onto.
4) Look at the bathrooms. Put non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on floor of tub or shower. Have a carpenter put grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.
5) Look at all the bedrooms. Place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach. Put in a night-light to make it easier to see when walking at night.
Other precautions include wiping up spills as soon as they happen to prevent slipping, wearing fitted shoes, knowing side effects of medications, standing up slowly and exercising regularly which improves balance and coordination.