When you were a toddler, falls were inevitable. As a kid, they might have made you laugh. As a teenager, they may have been embarrassing. As an adult, they were likely more surprising than anything. But by the time you reach your senior years, falls are serious business. Physical changes and health conditions make falls more likely and more dangerous as you age. That said, there’s no reason to live in fear of a stumble. Scroll down to learn how to prevent falls at home.
How to Prevent Falls at Home
Visit your doctor.
First, it’s important to visit your doctor to discuss your risk of falling. Certain medications and health conditions increase the likelihood, so discuss your personal risk with your doctor. In addition, be sure to mention any previous falls you’ve had. Your doctor may provide valuable, personalized advice regarding how to prevent falls at home.
Regular exercise can be very helpful in preventing falls, especially activities that improve strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Tai chi, water aerobics, and walking are all great choices. If you’re currently avoiding physical activity because you’re worried you’ll increase your risk of falling, talk to your doctor.
Wear sensible shoes.
Floppy slippers, poorly fitting shoes, and slick soles may cause you to slip, trip, stumble, and fall. Instead, shop for shoes that fit your feet properly and have sturdy construction, a flat base, and nonskid soles.
Take a nice, slow walk around your home to seek out potential fall hazards. For example, you may need to complete some of the following tasks:
- Remove miscellaneous clutter (i.e., tripping hazards) from the floor.
- Tuck away and secure electrical cords.
- Move coffee tables and plants out of high-traffic areas.
- Secure loose rugs to the floor (or remove them).
- Have loose floorboards or carpeting repaired.
- Wipe up spills right away.
- Avoid keeping your floorboards highly polished.
- Don’t wear clothing that’s too long (like floor-length robes), as you might trip on it.
- Don’t use throw rugs or small area rugs.
Place oft-used items within easy reach.
Make life easier for yourself! Put items that you use often (clothing, dishes, food, etc.) within easy reach so that you don’t need to kneel down or grab a ladder to reach them. Not only will it help you avoid falls, but also it’ll make your everyday life more convenient!
Don’t be afraid of assistive devices.
If your healthcare provider recommends a cane or walker to keep you moving safely, follow their advice. They may also recommend other assistive devices for your home, such as a raised toilet seat, a bath seat, nonslip mats and grab bars for the shower, or nonslip treads for wood steps.
Light up your life!
Keep your home well-lit to ensure that you’re able to see everything in your path. Place a lamp within arm’s reach of your bed, and use nightlights in your hallways and bathroom. Make sure all light switches are unobstructed as well.
Fall prevention is essential when you reach your senior years. Now that you’ve learned how to prevent falls at home, it’s time to put these strategies into action!
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