One-third of Americans age 65 and older falls every year. Falls are the number one cause of injuries in seniors. While some falls are hard to avoid, many falls are easily preventable just through making a few simple changes in your daily surroundings. Here are some ways that seniors can help protect themselves against falls in their homes.
1. Clean up Clutter
Always keep your home clean and picked up. Don’t leave items on the floor. Clear away old newspapers and magazines. If you have stairs, make sure that you don’t leave anything sitting on them. Read about ways you can organize your home. While you are picking up clutter around the house, take a close look at your floors. Look for things that might trip you up, like loose pieces of carpet, pieces of wood floorboard that stick up, and slippery rugs that move around. Repair the hazardous places that can be fixed, and remove what cannot be.
2. Wear Proper Clothing
Dress comfortably while you are at home, but try to avoid wearing clothing that is extremely loose-fitting. It is easier to get tripped up on clothes that sag and trail on the ground. When you’re walking around you house, wear shoes that have a grippy bottom. Avoid wearing socks, unless they are specially made to be non-slip. If you hate the feel of shoes, there are several different types of socks you can buy that come with with rubbery bottoms, specifically designed to help keep you from slipping on smooth floors.
3. Be Aware of the Stairs
While using the stairs does have its benefits, if you have trouble walking unassisted, you may want to consider living on just one level of your house, especially if you live alone. Even if you have safety measures put in place, like guardrails, stairs are one of the more dangerous places for seniors to be. If you must use the stairs, be very careful when you do so. Pay attention to your surroundings, and always hold onto the rail while you make your way up or down. If you have to use the stairs and you are not very good at navigating them on your own, try to limit the number of trips that you take up and down them.
4. Install Safety Accessories Around Your Home
Install handrails and grab bars in places in your house where you need them, like beside the stairs, in the hallway, beside the toilet, and in the shower or bathtub. These are simple, useful tools that will help you get up and down more easily. Make sure that your house is well-lit. If you can see where you are going, you will be less likely to trip on any items that may be on the floor. Install brighter lightbulbs in the darker areas in your house, such as stairways and hallways. Add nightlights to bedrooms and bathrooms for help navigating toward the light switches at night. Put non-slip mats in your bathtubs, showers, and on the floors of rooms that have hardwood, tile, or other hard flooring that gets slippery when wet.
5. Move Around Carefully
Try not to move too quickly around your home. When you have been sitting for a long time, stand and start moving slowly. Sometimes it takes the rest of your body some time to get used to standing after you have been off of your feet for a while. Always pause and breathe for a second before going up or down the stairs. Taking your time is one of the easiest and one of the best ways that you can help prevent yourself from falling.