In the winter months, snow and ice has us paying more attention to our footing outdoors, but in reality, the greatest number of falls occur in the places we sometimes feel safest—our own homes.
Accidental falls remain the number one reason for a trip to the emergency department, and with obstacles like chairs, beds, stairs and other unforeseen hazards, the risk is often under foot.
“Of all the things we can fall from in our homes, the number one fall risk is of a same level fall,” explains Diane Simon, RN, CEN, trauma coordinator/ registrar at ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital. “A same level fall is a fall which occurs due to a person tripping, slipping, or stumbling.” She says this can occur in any room in the home, but the kitchen is the most common site.
However, there’s no need to be concerned about the safety of our own homes as long as proper measures are taken to ensure safety. Below are some helpful hints to reduce our risk of falls:
1. Wear low heeled, rubber-soled shoes with good support.
2. Do not get up too quickly after lying down. This can cause dizziness and you can be unsteady.
3. Use a cane or walker for balance if you feel unsteady.
4. Have good lighting in stairways and halls.
5. Keep walkways and floors clear of clutter and floor coverings that are not attached to floor. Throw rugs are not recommended, as these can bunch up.
6. Install grab bars near the toilet and bathtub and non-skid carpet on the floor.
7. Get your vision and hearing tested often.
8. Talk to your physician about your medications and their possible side effects.
9. Participate in an exercise program that is right for you.
10. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
What do you do in your home to help prevent falls? Please share your ideas in a comment below.