Falling down on step, not safe at home

September is fall prevention month: Ponte Giulio suggest how stay safe in your home

Installing a shower seat or bench or grab bars help most people avoid injuries

A single fall can end it all but there are many things that can be done to prevent falls at homes.

One in every five falls results in serious injury. This includes 3 million older adults treated at the ER and 800,000 admitted to the hospital due to a fall related injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four of those over 65 fall each year, and once someone falls it doubles their chance of falling again.

However, falling is not just a problem for older people, anyone, at any age can fall and seriously injure themselves. Injury can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, cuts and bruises, dental damage and loss of confidence.

September is fall prevention month, so here are some ideas on how you can help prevent your loved ones from falling in your home.

Stairs injure 1,000,000 Americans each year. Try these tips to prevent falls on your stairs.

  1. Install overhead and step-level lighting on each step.
  2. Hand rails should be on both sides of the stairway. It is also a good idea to shake the railings to be sure they are firmly mounted. 
  3. Immediately repair any broken stairs or damaged carpet. 
  4. If possible, try to eliminate the need to go up and down the stairs often. Move the laundry room to the main level of home and bring everything needed for the day.

Bathroom injuries are more than 230,000 each year in the United States. Try these tips to prevent falls in your bathroom which can be wet and slippery with many hard surfaces.

  1. Install a nightlight or smart motion light to improve vision at night. 
  2. Install a shower seat or bench to provide rest location in the shower. 
  3. Install support grab bars around the shower and toilet. Grab bars are one of the least expensive products that help most people stay safe. When grab bars are installed almost everyone will use them, even if they don’t “need” them. 
  4. Keep the bathroom as clean as possible to prevent injury. If you use a bath mat, it should be non-skid, which can be done by adding adhesive.

Living rooms and bedrooms make-up about 60% of falls within the home. Try these tips to prevent falls in your living room and bedroom spaces.

  1. Remove all clutter and throw rugs in walk spaces, as these items can create tripping hazards. 
  2. Provide appropriate seating to allow comfort and easy movement within your home. For example, consider getting a power lift chair if someone can no longer get up safely.
  3. Install proper lighting, use bright light bulbs and overhead lighting to improve vision at all times.
  4. Set your bed to the correct height, which is similar to a chair which is about 17” to 19” from the floor.Often, many beds are very high making them difficult to get into and out of. 
  5. Anytime you are storing items that are used often, follow the nose to knees rule. Store frequently used- items between your nose and knees, so you don’t have to reach in very high or low places to retrieve them.

Making small changes in your home will improve safety, eliminate hazards and help preserve dignity, independence and accessibility. It is also a good idea to try increasing your daily activity level, including walking and exercising, improved fitness will reduce your chance of falling. Increased daily activity can also lead to improvements in strength that will give you confidenceandhelp maintain independence.

Stay safe all year long but especially during September Fall Prevention reduce the chance of falling at home.