As people grow older, their danger of falling increases. American Family Physician reports that seniors who live alone, have a chronic health condition, use a cane, or have previously fallen have an especially high risk of falling. Falling can lead to serious injuries and extensive recovery times. Preventing falls begins with taking steps to identify potential hazards in your home and making efforts to improve safety. By taking time to employ the right precautions, you can save yourself the pain and frustration that accompany falls.
Stopping Falls Before They Stop You
Your home should be a place of comfort where you can rest, relax, and feel secure. However, your home could pose falling risks that you might not be aware of. There are many ways to improve household safety and in turn prevent falls. In order to make your home safer, consider the following:
- Assess Hazards: Walk through your home and make a detailed list of falling hazards and risky areas. It may help to include family members or friends in this task so that more eyes are involved. Identifying potential risk zones will help you be more aware as you move about your home.
- Make Safety Repairs: After you assess falling hazards, take the necessary steps to reduce any discovered dangers. This could mean cleaning up clutter and removing cumbersome items and things like slippery throw rugs or long electrical cords that could facilitate a fall. Make sure outdoor walking areas and paths are kept clear of snow or ice.
- Incorporate Color: Using color to denote changes in surface types or levels is a great way to prevent falls. Use contrast in paint, furniture, and carpet to distinguish different heights. You can also apply brightly colored tape to the face of stairs. Adding colors to your home helps increase the visibility of potential falling zones.
- Lighten Up: Using more light in your home is a quick and easy remedy for preventing falls. Add a nightlight or a bedside lamp with an easy-to-operate on/off switch — for example, a lamp that instantly brightens upon your touch. Outside your home, install lighting next to doorways and along walkways.
- Keep Items Within Reach: Identify which items in each room you use the most frequently and keep them within easy reach. This could mean moving food from high cabinets to lower-level cabinets and placing favorite books on low tables or shelves.
Involving friends or family in relocating oft-used objects and helping you remove clutter is a great bonding activity and will get the work done quickly and efficiently. Hire a professional to install or uninstall any dangerous light fixtures. You may also consider adding hand rails or ramps to your home for further protection.
It doesn’t take an expensive home renovation to prevent serious falls in your house. All it takes is time and a little effort to recognize what places could pose hazards. Making efforts to identify and improve these areas will not only reduce your falling risks, but provide you with a deeper sense of security.