Statistics reveal that one out of three senior citizens experiences a fall in the very place that is most familiar to them, namely, at home. Also, the elderly are most likely to be injured while falling, given their higher tendency to lose their balance and fall. One’s home is usually a safe confine for most people, and it should thus be the least likely place where one might experience falls or be injured.
A few changes around the house and some precautionary measures will minimize the risk of falls at home.
5 Strategies to prevent falls at home
- Visit your doctor
The first step towards minimizing the risk of falling is to make an appointment with a doctor. First, rule out any medical conditions that could lead to spells of dizziness. Usually, ear problems and eye disorders can lead to feelings of unsteadiness. Other symptoms that can increase the chances of falling are joint pains, numbness in the feet and legs, shortness of breath, and dizzy spells. Also, certain medications can cause dizziness and make one feel faint. Check out these drugs, prescriptions, and OTCs, and ask for substitutes. Certain antidepressants and sedatives also cause dizziness and increase the risk of falling. Additionally, if there have been previous incidences of falling, fainting, or feeling unsteady, they need to be discussed in detail with the doctor. Even the causative situations and surroundings need to be discussed.
- Exercise regularly
Being physically active and agile also reduces the chances of falling. Activities that strengthen the flexibility, coordination, and balance such as tai chi, workouts in the water, yoga, or evening walking are recommended. A doctor or physiotherapist might suggest exercises to improve muscle strength, balance, and gait as well as flexibility.
- Opt for the right shoes
Sometimes the wrong kind of footwear can also greatly increase the risk of falling. Some types of footwear lack friction and can be quite a hazard. These include high heels, soles that are slick or floppy, or even plain stockings that can be slippery. Instead choose sensible, sturdy footwear with anti-skid soles. The right footwear reduces joint pain as well.
- Light the home appropriately
Dim lighting and soft glow beams might make your house aesthetically very chic, but can pose a hazard as far as safety is concerned. Get sufficient light fittings to illuminate every corner, thereby reducing the chances of falling. Also, light up the hallways and basement, and have night lamps that are easy to access. Additionally, to make the light switches visible even in the dark, one can get glow-in-the-dark stickers to go around them.
- Get the house suitably equipped
First and foremost, do away with any clutter that might be the cause of a fall, such as boxes, wires, cords, loose carpets or rugs, and potted plants in the doorway. Next, ensure safety features, such as stairways with railings or handles on both sides, flooring that is skid proof, handles in the bathrooms, and carpets that do not have loose ends.
All of these measures will help minimize the risk of falling for you and your loved ones.