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How To Prevent Falls In The Home

 

Did you know, that according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls account for more than 50% of all injuries among Canadians 65 years and over?

One third of community-dwelling Canadian seniors experience one fall each year and half of those will fall more than once. Almost half of admissions to long term care are fall-related. And most falls occur in seniors’ homes, while doing usual daily activities.

Falls are caused by a lack of balance or an inability to recover balance. There are many factors that can influence balance, including some age-related body, physical and mental health problems, as well as environmental trip hazards.

In this article, we have compiled some information on potential actions you or your loved ones can take to reduce the risks of falling in the Home.

Lighting

  • Install proper lighting throughout your home. Pay special attention to stairs (with a light switch at both ends) and bathrooms.
  • Use night-lights in the hallways, particularly between the bedroom and bathroom.

Stairs

  • Keep your floor and stairs free of clutter. Avoid the use of scatter rugs.
  • Be sure to have at least one handrail (preferably two) on all stairways and steps in your home. Ensure handrails are securely attached and in good repair.
  • Check that stairs are in good repair and are slip resistant. If any stairs are broken, have them fixed promptly. Add a strip along the edge of each step in a contrasting color to make it easier to see or use reflective anti-skid treads.

Outdoor

  • Take the same precautions for outdoor steps. In addition, arrange to have leaves, snow and ice removed on a regular basis. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.

Footwear

  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes, boots and slippers should provide good support and have good soles. Avoid loose slippers or stocking feet.

Bathrooms

  • Install grab bars in all bathrooms, by the toilet and in the bathtub or shower. It’s a good idea to have two bars in the tub, one on a side wall and one on the back wall. If you need extra support, consider a bath seat or bench so you can have a shower sitting down.
  • Use a rubber mat along the full length in your tub, and a non-skid bath mat beside the tub.

Walking aids

  • Use walking aids and other safety devices for extra safety. If you use a cane or a walker, check that it is the right height and that the rubber tips are not worn. Install stainless steel prongs (ice picks) on canes for safe walking in the winter.

Vision & Hearing tests

  • Have regular vision and hearing tests. Talk to your doctor about falls prevention.

Medication

  • Take prescription and over-the-counter medications correctly. Keep a medication record and review it regularly with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your medication makes you dizzy or light-headed.

In addition, a monitored Personal Emergency Response System(PERS) will provide a safety net for your independence living, with immediate access to help at the push of a button. Click here to find out more.

Source: Canada Safety Council; BC Falls and Injury Prevention Coalition; Public Health Agency of Canada.

What are your best tips for you and your loved ones to enjoy safe and independent living? We’d love to hear your thoughts…share with us below!

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