According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three older adults sustains a fall every year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. In 2013, more than 2.5 million non-fatal falls were treated in emergency rooms in the U.S.
National health statistics show that while a fall can happen anywhere, more than half occur inside the home.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps than can be taken to lower your risk of taking a fall.
Start by walking through your, or your loved one’s, home. Take notice of items that can be a tripping hazard. Some specific items to look for include:
- Any items, (for instance, shoes, books, boxes) that are in a pathway. Be especially alert to small items that are easily missed, such as pet toys or pet food dishes.
- Make sure that electrical cords are secured and out of the way. Particularly watch for extension cords. Avoid running cords through the room.
- Throw rugs can easy cause someone to trip. Non-slip rugs or mats may be a better choice than cotton rugs that can slip easily.
- Don’t place items on stairs.
- Be sure interior hand rails and exterior railings are secure.
- Be cautious when leaning on furniture, especially on small, lightweight pieces that can easily fall or be knocked over.
- In bathrooms, secure or add grab bars to the bathtub or toilet area. Also check that rugs and fixtures are secure.
- Outdoor areas also require safety maintenance. All leaves and branches should be raked or removed from walkways and steps. During winter, walkways and steps must be cleared of snow and ice; spread salt or sand as an extra precaution. Also, make sure driveways and walkways are properly maintained. Repair or replace any damaged walkways or stairs.
While there are many other things that can cause or contribute to a fall, the above list is a good place to start. In addition to these, there are several medical conditions that can increase a person’s risk of falling, such as vertigo, Parkinson’s disease, or even diminishing eyesight. Several medications can also cause dizziness; speak with your medical professional or pharmacist to learn if you should take precautions. For a comprehensive safety review, contact Lares Home Care — your safety, and your loved ones’, is our first concern.