If you or your loved one is elderly, it is crucial to decrease the risk of falling as much as possible. Every year, one in three Australians 65 years old or over suffer from a slip and fall, now the top cause of hospitalisation in the country. Unfortunately, most of these falls take place at home, so it is essential to reduce the risk of falling and the severity of injuries should an accident occur.
The good news is that there are several ways to make a home safer for an older adult, ensuring they don’t get into any painful accidents. Coordinating with assisted home care services will also help you identify trip, slip, and fall hazards. Here are five tips for preventing slips and falls at home:
1. Consult Your Doctor
The first thing to do is talk to your doctor, who can suggest the different health factors that may affect your ability to move independently and safely. These factors include diet, exercise, and side effects from the medication you’re taking. They can also coordinate with an occupational therapist or physiotherapist to establish a fall prevention plan.
The doctor may also conduct health checks like checking your eyes, as deteriorating vision will compromise your ability to pinpoint trip hazards. Seeing a podiatrist may also help since they can identify problems in your feet that can contribute to frequent slipping and falling.
2. Review the House
Take a good look at your home to identify hazards that could cause you to trip and fall. These include poor lighting, making such risks vague or invisible, increasing your chances of stumbling on objects. Consider installing movement-sensitive lights by the stairs and hallways so you can stay safe as you navigate your house.
Bathroom tiles are slipping hazards when wet, so install grab rails and anti-slip surfacing in showers and bathtubs to reduce your risk of falling. Wipe up any spills immediately so you can eliminate these hazards. Clear clutter from pathways, repair rugs with loose threads and tuck away electrical cords to make your home safer.
3. Take Care of Your Health
Having a low body weight and being malnourished will vastly increase your risk of falling since you’ll often have poor coordination, a slower reaction time, weak muscles, and bone loss. For this reason, looking after your health will help you avoid falls. Eat a healthy diet filled with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other nutrients essential to your health. Consume lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats to keep yourself strong and alert. Drinking plenty of water will also keep you hydrated and help you stay healthy.
4. Use Assistive Technology
Assistive technology can go a long way in helping you complete daily activities without risking a fall. Such technology includes fall alarms, which have a button you can press if you fall and there isn’t anyone nearby to help you, which is handy if you live alone. You can also install motion-sensor alarms, alerting someone if you fall without requiring the press of a button.
You can also have sturdy shower seats in your bathroom so someone can sit down with you if you feel unsteady as you’re taking a shower. It will also immensely help you to install grab rails throughout your home so you can hold onto something as you move around.
5. Wear Safe Clothing
Lastly, wear clothing that wouldn’t get in the way of moving or cause you to fall. For example, wear supportive, comfortable shoes with slip-resistant soles, as they’ll help you stay firmly on the ground. Avoid loose shoes or socks in the house, as they make it easier to slip.
Don’t wear clothing that drags along the floor or is otherwise too long, as you can trip over them and stumble. You can also wear hip protectors to shield yourself from fractures if you fall.
Given the prevalence of falling in one’s home, it is crucial to take all steps necessary to make your home safer and free of trip hazards. By following these tips and working with the best home care providers, you’ll vastly reduce your risk of falling.
Haisey Home Care is a home care agency in Sydney that offers choices for older Australians living at home. We assist our patients with their personal needs and support them to regain and retain their independence. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!