Falls can be serious for people of any age, but they can be especially serious for older adults. Falls can lead to sprains, broken bones, and unfortunately, in some cases, death.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year. They also predict that by 2030, 7 fall deaths will occur every hour in the U.S.
There are many precautions you can take to avoid you or a loved one becoming part of this statistic. Live without fear of falling, slipping, or tripping with the tips in this article.
What Causes Falls?
Falls may be caused by both natural, or biological, and non-natural, or external, influencers.
Chronic health conditions that cause dizziness, poor vision, muscle weakness, or other illnesses can affect your ability to balance properly and result in a fall or slip. These are all considered biological causes.
There are also external causes of falls, slips, or trips, such as wet or slippery floors, lack of lighting, having to reach or having to use a step stool, and stairs.
How to Prevent Falls in Your Home
While falls can be scary, you can reduce your risk! Below is a list of tips to help prevent falls, trips, and slips in your home.
Natural Cause Prevention:
1. See your doctor about your health conditions to ensure you are receiving proper treatment.
2. Don’t allow your prescriptions to run low. Also, if you have multiple prescriptions, be sure to ask your doctor how the combination of prescriptions may affect you.
3. Perform balance exercises or try activities such as tai chi to improve your balance.
4. Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake to improve balance as well as reflexes, should you slip or trip.
5. Be sure to get an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D to improve bone strength.
Non-Natural Cause Prevention:
6. Keep floors clean and clear of clutter.
7. Move coffee tables, furniture, plants, and other obstructive objects from high-traffic areas.
8. Use a walker or cane for added stability.
9. Make sure your floors aren’t wet and slippery, whether from rain or snow, spills, or something else.
10. Be cognizant of areas in your home in which the floor levels differ.
11. Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes.
12. Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers.
13. Make sure your rugs have a skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor.
14. Repair or replace loose floorboards or carpeting.
15. Keep all wires and cords tucked away and out of walkways.
16. Be sure that your entire house is adequately lit, especially the stairways.
17. Install safety grab bars on bathroom walls beside tubs, showers, and toilets.
18. Use a rubber bath mat in showers or tubs. If you have trouble standing for long periods of time, consider having a chair or ledge in your shower.
19. Avoid placing your most frequently used possessions in hard-to-reach areas that require the use of a step stool. If you need to keep things up high, be sure to have a very sturdy step stool.
20. Take precautions to avoid hazards that your oxygen therapy equipment may present.
Avoid Oxygen Tubing Trips
If you require oxygen therapy, it’s important to consider whether your equipment could present a hazard.
Oxygen tubing lengths can go up to 200 feet depending on the oxygen flow you require and the source.
To avoid tripping on tubing, consider the following:
- Add bright colored tape around the tubing so you can always see where it is as you move around.
- If you use a walker or cane, place the tube around your finger to help keep it away from your feet and out of your walking path.
- When attempting to sit, move the tube from your side to directly in front of you. This will help prevent the tub from being tangled on your walker, on your cane, or around your feet.
Don’t let a fall prevent you from living actively.
By taking advantage of the tips above, you can greatly reduce the chance of either you or a loved one falling, slipping or tripping at home.
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