How To Prevent Falls Inside
We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home in recent months, attempting to safeguard against COVID-19. But your indoor environment poses potential dangers too. Here are a few tips to make your abode fall-safe.
- Consider the floor beneath your feet. Carpet is the least slip-prone surface. Marble and hardwood are gorgeous, though much less forgiving should you experience a sudden and unexpected landing.
- Rethink throw rugs. If they are not fastened to the floor by adhesive pads, they pose significant trip and fall hazards, especially for those who use walkers or canes.’
- Watch out for furry friends underfoot. We love our pets, and they love us too — sometimes a little too much. If you have a dog or cat who follows you wherever you go, make sure you are ever-aware of its position. If you’re cooking at the stove and need something from the counter behind you, don’t turn quickly. It will save you the guilt of stepping on your pet, and it will spare your pet guilt and loneliness while you’re in rehab for your hip fracture.
- Keep your surroundings tidy. If you are a person who keeps organized with piles around the house or a retired engineer who likes to boot-leg the electrical cords and TV cables around an older home, watch out for the profound trip and fire hazards you’re creating.
- Brighten things up. Many of us lose visual acuity as we age, especially as it relates to change of surfaces, night vision, and seeing non-contrasting colors. Make sure you have adequate lighting throughout your home and invest in simple night lights for trips to the bathroom or the fridge. Additionally, consider decorating with brighter colors to distinguish furniture and fixtures. There’s nothing like that cold and humbling feeling when you miss the toilet!
- Let the sun shine in. If your curtains are pulled and your interior space is dimly lit, it’s difficult to see tripping hazards.
- Sit down to disrobe and get dressed. Hopping on one leg while putting on your jeans may have worked when you were 25 but not today.
- Hold on. To keep steady, install handrails in your shower, next to the toilet, and near steps where entering or exiting your home. Also consider using a shower chair or tub transfer bench, a non-skid pad, or hand-held nozzle to remain stable and secure while you bathe.
- Take it slow. When you get up in the morning or after a nap, sit up for a few seconds and then ease into a standing position to avoid a sudden drop in blood pressure upon rising, which may lead to dizziness and a subsequent fall.
- Record your vital signs at home. Many people take medication to reduce their blood pressure and/or regulate heart function. It’s very common for seniors to experience profound effects from medication and/or suffer effects of drug interactions, which often lead to falls or fainting. If you’re taking anti-hypertensive or cardiac-related medications, keep a daily record of your heart rate and blood pressure and share your records with your doctor during your visits. Tracking your numbers will provide valuable information for your doctor to make educated decisions about your care.
- Go easy on the alcohol. A glass of wine now and then can be fun, but know your limit and stop well before you get there. Also, understand how your medications may enhance the effects of alcohol. And, lastly, impaired judgment and balance can accompany alcohol consumption at any age, but the injuries that can result from a fall are much more serious for seniors.
Follow these tips to help reduce your chances of falling inside your home.