January Safety Tip – Preventing Falls at Home
For seniors especially, falls can be particularly dangerous. Falls are not just the result of getting older, and many can be prevented. Prevention is especially important for seniors who have a harder time recovering from fall-related injuries. Luckily, there are ways to help prevent falls.
How to Prevent Falls
The following are our tips for preventing falls at home:
- Have a lamp or light switch that you can easily reach without getting out of bed – By having a lamp or light switch right by your bed, you can always turn on a light before you get out of bed and spot any potential tripping hazards. This is especially important when getting out of bed at night when there is no natural light shining on the floor.
- Use nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways – Nightlights in these high-traffic areas help to illuminate tripping hazards.
- Turn on the lights when you go into your home at night – It’s easy to fall into a habit of not turning on the lights in your home because you know it so well. However, you should always turn on lights to make sure that nothing unexpected is on the ground as a tripping hazard.
- Add grab bars in shower, tub and toilet areas – Showers and bathtubs can quickly become dangerous and slippery areas when they become wet. Consider installing grab bars so you always have somewhere to grab and avoid slipping. Once these are installed, make sure you always use them.
- Use bath mats with suction cups – Bath mats can easily slip and slide around which can cause a fall when stepping out of the bath or shower. If you use a bath mat with suction cups on the bottom, it is more likely that the mat will stay firmly in one place and reduce the risk of falling.
- Use non-slip adhesive strips or a mat in the shower or tub – As stated earlier, baths and showers can be incredibly slippery areas as they become wet. Consider placing a mat or non-adhesive strips on the floor of your bath or shower to help reduce the slipperiness of the floor.
- Consider using an elevated toilet seat – Lowering yourself onto a low toilet seat can be difficult. It can also be difficult to stand upright from a lower toilet seat. Consider getting an elevated toilet seat to bring the seat up to a higher level.
- Wear non-slip, low-heeled shoes or slippers that fit snugly. Don’t walk around in stockings – Stockings can become a potential falling hazard when on certain floor types. Most stockings do not have any resistance to slipping which makes them a bad option for seniors, when wearing them without shoes. Instead, wear non-slip low-heeled shoes as often as possible to help prevent falls.
- Keep telephone and electrical cords, as well as other tripping hazards, out of pathways – If there’s anything that you notice on your floor, like electrical or phone cords, keep them away from walkways. It can be easy to forget these tripping hazards are on the floor and hard to see them at night.
- If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, sit down or stay seated until your head clears, and stand up slowly to avoid unsteadiness – Do not try to stand when you feel dizzy. This can easily lead to a fall.
- Keep snow and ice cleared from entrances and sidewalks – Ice is incredibly slippery and can easily lead to a fall, if not cleared. Shoveling can help to remove snow, and road salt can help to remove ice.
- Use helping devices, such as canes, when necessary. Learn how to get out of a chair safely, and lift objects correctly – If a cane can help you walk more steadily, use it! It can help prevent a fall that would occur from not using it.
- Exercise regularly to improve muscle flexibility and strength – Doing exercise that encourages strength and flexibility can help to prevent falls and can sometimes help to reduce injuries after a fall occurs.