Friday 28 September 2018

Fall Prevention: 10 Ways to Stay Safe in the Home

I have a good friend who recently had a bad fall. "That won't happen to me", I thought. Then last week I went to a very challenging balance routine at my gym. I was hopeless! Everyone fell over, including me. And my Mom fell easily before she passed away recently at the age of 96. Now I'm more aware than ever of the importance of falls prevention. It seems like a good time for this important post on staying safe at home. Thank you to guest blogger Victoria Sanders!

While your home is supposed to be a place where you feel safe, that’s not a reality for a lot of seniors. Over 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year for fall injuries, and older adults are at a greater risk of both falling and suffering severe health consequences. This makes fall prevention a paramount concern—here are some things you can do in your loved one’s home right away.
1. Watch out for fall hazards. In many cases, certain items like throw rugs or floorboards that stick up are easy to trip on. Make sure that you change out some of these items as soon as you can, and replace them with non-slip alternatives.
2. Make strategic safety additions. Adding something like a grab bar around the staircase or in the bathroom can help minimize the chance of falling in some of the most common areas of the house.
3. Keep the space clean. Even with all these preemptive measures, a cluttered home is still very easy to have a fall in. If you don’t have the means to keep up with this, consider enlisting a relative or friend or even paying a cleaning service to get rid of the clutter.
4. See your eye doctor. Vision issues play a major role in many cases, and you may need a new prescription for eyesight as you get older.
5. Stay aware of new developments. Chances are that you’re reading this article because you or a loved one is at an increased risk of falling, and you want to do everything possible to keep the seniors in your life safe. One of the best things you can do is nurse that instinct. Many different tech and care industry resources are available, updated with the latest information for you to learn from.
6. Watch outdoor areas. Your porch or yard can be common places to fall, so make sure they are well-lit and smooth.
7. Take a look at your medications. It’s not uncommon for medication combinations to lead to people feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Your doctor will help you make any necessary changes to help with physical stability.
8. Check your footwear. You may have that favourite pair of slippers or socks, but if you’re going to be walking around a lot, it’s best to leave those to the side. The footwear least likely to lead to a fall are low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles.
9. Be sure to stay active and eat well. Both of these help your body maintain healthy muscle tone, which is essential for keeping the balance, strength, and coordination you need to minimize the risk of falls.
10. Think beyond preventing falls. Despite your best efforts, even using the insight on this list, there’s always a potential chance that falls can happen. One of the best things you can do in these scenarios is to make sure you have a medical alert system or similar device in your home. Modern advancements mean these are easy to use, and even had added functions like motion detection.
With these tips and a little extra work, you can do a lot towards preventing falls in your home and creating peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.
Victoria Sanders is a full-time caregiver for her 96-year-old father who has suffered both a heart attack and a stroke. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys cooking for her family, gardening and spending time with her husband and their dog.

PS: HERE IS a great Senior Physical Activity Guide that can also help your loved (and you) stay safe and strong! 

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