Falls and slips are the leading cause of injury in the home. It can happen to anyone, as none of us are immune to gravity. However, for those over 65 or with health issues, a fall can have serious consequences. Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries; a further 800,000 are hospitalized for similar injuries that occur throughout their homes.
Tips and Tricks for Preventing Falls
Since falls account for more hospital visits and deaths than any other type of incident, it is important to be aware of how to minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents in your home.
- Always carry a small flashlight. Using a small flashlight can help you keep your footing when there’s not enough light to comfortably navigate around your home. These days, you can carry a tiny but powerful flashlight on your keychain. Most smartphones come equipped with a flashlight as well, and if not, there are apps that will turn your mobile device into a flashlight.
- Organization is the key. Keeping your floor clear of clutter reduces the likelihood of tumbling to the ground. If you think this one’s obvious, take a look at your basement stairs or the busiest rooms in your house. Chances are you will see obstacles on the steps or floor that you didn’t realize were there.
- Watch out for rugs. Rugs and carpets, particularly around the edges and in transition areas, are the culprits in the majority of slips and falls occurring at home. Make sure the sides and corners of your rugs are secure.
- Use your assistive devices. Attempting to save time by skipping the use of a slide board or other assistive device is never a good idea. It only takes a few extra seconds to make the transfer safe, so take advantage of the tools available to you.
- Think twice before putting on those fuzzy slippers. They may be cute and comfy, but without proper traction, slippers are nothing more than cute, fuzzy menaces. Make sure your slippers or shoes have enough traction for you to get around safely.
- Go for the nonslip grip. The National Safety Council estimates there are 12,000 deaths every year from falling while attempting to go up or down the stairs. Apply non-slip adhesive surfaces on slippery spots or areas that are a bit trickier to navigate. Of course, a stairlift is an even safer alternative, particularly once fatigue and other mobility issues come into play. Handicare offers both straight and curved stairlifts to fit any home.
Creating a safer home begins with an awareness that as we age and change, our needs change as well. Given the common nature of falls and the risk for long term health issues resulting from a fall, prevention must be of high priority.