More than one out of four people over the age of 65 falls every year – and the Centers for Disease Control says falling once doubles your chances of falling again. However, you can reduce your risk of injury by taking some simple steps to improve your home safety. Here are suggested improvements to make during Home Safety Month this June.
Remove Tripping Hazards
It just takes an instant to trip and fall. But, the recovery from the related injuries can take months or even years. Here are some quick fixes to reduce your risk of falling:
- Ensure carpets and rugs do not wrinkle, fold or lift.
- Make sure stairs are free of objects and have non-skid strips. Carpeting is secure and free of wrinkles or holes.
- Walkways are clear throughout the home, leaving clear passageways for traffic.
- Eliminate door thresholds or be sure they are low and beveled.
- Cords are out of the way and hidden, free from the walkway to prevent tripping.
- Furniture is positioned out of the flow of traffic and is not used for mobility/transferring.
- Fix loose or uneven steps.
Dim lighting is a common contributor to falls and injuries in the home. Follow this home lighting checklist to protect yourself:
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more lamps and fixtures.
- Use brighter light bulbs such as bright white light bulbs.
- Equip hallways and rooms with nightlights.
- Install lights on all staircases, with switches that glow and are located at both the bottom and top of each staircase.
Grab bars for Safety
Many seniors rely on furniture to keep themselves steady as they travel around their homes. While they think this is helping, it can actually increase their risk of tripping and falling. Grab bars are a much better solution.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Invest in non-slip mats.
- Make sure towel racks are not at a height that could be used in place of a grab bar.
Finally, it’s best to place items on lower shelves that are accessible without the need for a stool or assistance to cut the risk of falls.
For more tips on healthy aging, check out Applegate & Dillman Elder Law’s Long-term Care Guide. Stay safe!