Falling is a significantly higher risk for the elderly. Older people are more likely to fall for a variety of reasons, some of which are a natural, but unfortunate, consequence of the aging process. But many falls are preventable. And in the process of considering the ways you could reduce your risk of falling, you may discover new ways to improve your life.
First, understand there are several underlying causes of falling that can be managed. For example, poor eyesight makes it more difficult to see obstacles in your path, or judge distances, or discern changes in elevation such as steps or curbs. Balance issues make a person less steady and increases the risk of falling. So, get up more slowly after sitting or lying down and consider using a walker to increase your steadiness.
Some medications can contribute to unsteadiness. Ask your doctor whether your medicines have this effect, and if there are effective replacement medicines without the side effect. Of course, in many cases, all these contributing factors are all present, so let’s examine what you can do to make your home safer. These suggestions are simple, helpful, and will actually help you enjoy your living environment more.
Clear a path. Keep your rooms clear of clutter. Pick up shoes, magazines, power and extension cords, and other messes from the floor to avoid tripping over them. Loose rugs should be removed or secured with two-sided tape. Don’t ever leave objects on the stairs. If you’re required to walk around furniture when crossing through a room, organize your furniture so there’s a straight path through the room.
Put your life in reach. If you’re using a stepstool for anything, ask yourself if what you’re doing can be brought to ground level. For example, can you move things from high shelves down within reach? If needed, install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet. While you’re at it, put in a non-slip rubber mat in the tub or shower. And install handrails on both sides of stairways for a secure grip coming and going.
Light it up. Make sure your house is well lit; dark areas hide obstacles and make visual navigation harder. Consider night lights to guide your way to and from the bathroom at night. Lights near the bed should be within reach; on both sides if necessary. Paint contrasting color or install edge guides on the steps to increase visibility.
Finally, regular exercise will increase your strength and improve your balance. And regular vision testing can correct vision problems, and prevent a fall.