Falls are a serious risk for older American. Each year sees one in three people over 64 fall—it’s the main reason for emergency room visits among the elderly.
Half of all falls occur in the home. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to take preventative measures that lower your fall risk so you can be safe and confident. Exercises and home modifications can help keep you safe.
Here are some fall precautions you can take to keep yourself safe in your home:
- Keep walkways in your home free from tripping hazards such as shoes, cords, plants, and boxes.
- If you have throw rugs, take steps to be sure they don’t curl or flip up. Use double-sided take or non-skid mats to keep them secure.
- Put a non-slip mat in your shower and install grab-bars near the shower and elsewhere in the bathroom.
- Have adequate lighting throughout your home.
- Stay on top of your game in balance and strength.
- Make sure you have well-secured stairway railings all the way up and down.
Experts say stairs can be particularly dangerous for people with balance problems. Carrying things such as laundry up or down stairs, particularly if there’s no railing on all or part of the staircase, puts a person at high risk of falling.
If you think you might be prone to falling, consider using an emergency call device. Wearing it, for example as a pendant, means you’re far more likely to have it than a cell phone you might leave when you’re just going from one room to another briefly. With a device, if you do fall, you will be able to get help immediately, even if you’re unable to move.
Many states offer fall-prevention screening, referrals and programs. Your health-care provider can get you in touch with a program that meets your needs.