This time of year when you hear of people falling most likely you are thinking it is from icy sidewalks. Each year though thousands of older Americans fall inside the home. According to the National Council on Aging one in three older Americans falls every year. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. The elderly are not the only ones at risk for falling. All of us including small children can be injured.
There are several things that can be done to help prevent falls.
- Establish an exercise routine. Regular exercise helps improve strength and balance.
- Make sure that you have your vision checked yearly. If your vision is not clear it can cause an increase in falls.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside. Slippers and socks can sometimes have slippery soles.
- Get up slowly after you have been sitting or lying down.
- Go over all medication that you are taking with your doctor or pharmacist. Some can make you dizzy or sleepy without you realizing it.
- Make sure that the lighting in the room is adequate. If there are dark areas it may lead to tripping over something that has been left on the floor.
- Make sure if there are throw rugs that they have a non-slip backing so they don’t move when they are stepped on.
- Keep unnecessary items off of the floor. Magazines, books, blankets as well as other items should always be picked up.
- Make sure items are stored where they can be easily reached. If you must use a step stool make sure that it is steady and that a chair is never used.
- Be sure that there are grab bars in a bathroom when needed by the shower, tub or toilet. If a shower or tub is slippery use a non-slip bath mat.
- Use a night light so that you can see where you are walking at night when it is dark. Many now automatically come on by themselves when it gets dark.
With a few simple changes in a home falls can be prevented for not only older relatives but young ones as well.