Mature Living Special Section: Safety proof your home to prevent falls

Published on Wed, Oct 19, 2011
Read More News

One out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year, and nearly a third of them will live with discomfort from the fall for the rest of their lives. 

“Up to 30 percent of people who fall suffer injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas,” said Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, an in-home care provider serving North America. “These types of injuries not only make it hard for seniors to live independently, but they can sometimes be fatal.

To make matters worse, when seniors fall, they usually develop a fear of falling, even if they’re not injured, Ross said. “That fear can easily turn into them choosing to limit their physical activity, which in turn increases their risk of falling again.”

To make sure you or your loved ones are living in a safe environment, Senior Helpers offers the following safety tips:

Safety-proof your home

Remove boxes, newspapers and electrical cords from halls.
Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plants stands out of high-traffic areas.
Repair loose, wooden floor boards and damaged carpeting.
Store clothing, dishes, food, medication and all necessities within reach.

Add safety devices

Hand rails for both sides of the bed.
Non-slip treads for wooden steps.
Raised toilet seat or one with arm rests.
Grab bars for shower or tub,
Sturdy plastic seat for shower or tub plus handheld shower nozzle.

Lighten up living space

Place night lights in bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
Have a lamp near the bedside.
Opt for glow-in-the-dark light switches rather than traditional ones.

Check shoes

Get rid of high heels and floppy slippers.
Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes – foot sizes change and shoes that are too big can make you fall.
Avoid shoes with extra-thick or slick soles.

Get eye exams

Make sure you have your eyes checked by a doctor at least once a year and have your eyeglasses updated as needed. Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for activities such as walking outside.

Exercise regularly

Participate in activities that increase leg strength and improve balance, such as tai chi.

Review medications

Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications so you know if any may cause side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness.