Things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.
- Review the following questions carefully.
- For best results, correct the items you have checked off.
- Helpful hints to help you to reduce your risk of falling are included.
- Always remember: Falls are preventable!
Do you have poor lighting?
- Good lighting on stairs can reduce your chance of falling. Add bright strips of tape to the edge of each stair where you do not step. They can help you see the stairs better
- Illuminate all stairways and hallways and provide light switches at both ends.
- Use nightlights or bedside remote controlled switches.
- Consider adding night-lights where overhead lighting is lacking.
- A night light in the bathroom can also make night trips to the bathroom easier.
- Always keep a charged flashlight near your bed for emergencies.
Do you have throw rugs?
- They are a tripping hazard. If you do not wish to remove them, they must be securely fastened with an adhesive, double-stick tape.
- Tack down the edges of carpets and rugs; remove throw rugs that slide.
- This is important and cannot be overstated: firmly attach all carpets and rugs, or else remove them.
- Besides if they're beautiful you can make a wall hanging.
Do you have clutter?
- Shoes, electrical cords, and magazines can be hazardous in walkways. Always keep walkways clear.
- Rearrange furniture so they are not obstacles.
Do you have regularly used items out of reach?
- Put regularly used items on shelves within easy reach between hip and eye level.
- Keep a sturdy nightstand next to the bed so glasses and other personal items are within reach.
- If you must reach overhead, keep a stool handy.
- A long-handled grasper can be used to reach objects that are on high shelves or on the floor.
Do you have spills that go un-wiped?
- Spills on the floor can be dangerous. It is best to wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
- Place a non-slip mat in the sink areas to absorb water which spills on the floor.
- A slippery bathroom floor, bathtub or shower?
- Always use a non-skid bathtub / shower mat.
- If you bathe in a shower, consider installing a non-skid shower chair and hand-held showerhead so you can sit while bathing.
- Avoid using bath oils or lotions in the bathtub
- Avoid pulling up on the sink to get up from the toilet or bathtub. Bathroom sinks are generally not securely fastened to the wall or floor, and are not intended to support your weight.
- Install grab bars or handrails in the shower, on walls around the bathtub, where necessary.
- Use raised seat and safety rails for toilet.
Do you have furniture that is difficult to get in and out of?
- Try to sit on furniture with good back support that you can get into and out of easily. Firm chairs with armrests are easier to get out of. Add pillows to the back of the chair so your feet can touch the floor.
- Use caution when getting up from eating or sleeping. When getting out of bed, sit for a few seconds before standing to avoid becoming lightheaded or dizzy. Take extra caution when moving if necessary.
Do you have a phone that is not accessible?
- Consider a PERS (personal emergency response system). By pushing a single button help can be immediately summoned through the telephone. An emergency operator will answer your call for help, assess the situation, and take the appropriate measures to aid you. This eliminates the danger and worry of having an in-home injury without being able to reach the phone: no crawling for the phone, no lying helplessly in fear, and most important--fast help when you need it most. In case of any emergency, help is only a push button away. These systems are very simple to operate. A waterproof, remote controlled pendant is worn on a necklace or wristband. Vital Link specializes in emergency life saving and is happy to discuss your needs. Please call 1-800-752-5252.
- Have a cordless phone ready available. Keep emergency taped to the phone or readily available.
- Safety Tip: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clock for daylight savings time.
Are your shoes designed for fashion of function?
- Wear supportive, properly fitted, non-skid, rubber-soled shoes.
- Choose shoes, which are flexible and easily molded to the feet.
- Shoes with Velcro straps are easier to put on and take off.
- When choosing house slippers, make sure the soles don't have too much grip (which may grab carpeting and cause a fall).
Have you considered safety in the kitchen?
- Arrange frequently used kitchen items in an easy to reach storage cabinet.
- Use kitchen appliances with thermostats and timers. Older adults find appliances with signal lights and buzzers easier to use.
- Use fireproof curtains on windows near the stove.
- Clearly mark the "off" position on stoves and ranges so a person with diminished eyesight can immediately tell if the element is off.
- When cooking, don't wear loose fitting or flammable clothes. Long sleeves can catch fire easily.
- Long, Beautiful hair? Be sure to tie your hair up before cooking with any open flames.
- Install smoke detectors in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the house.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.
- Set water heater thermostats or faucets so water does not scald the skin.
Have you discussed lifestyle changes with your doctor?
- Have your vision and hearing checked regularly. Have regular eye examinations and keep glasses clean and in good condition.
- It is important to know and understand the side effects of your medication.
- Limit your intake of alcohol. Find out if a harmless glass of wine mixed with your medication can be a cocktail of potential danger.
- Maintain a regular exercise program to improve strength and tone.
Do you prepare yourself when you go outside for walking or shopping?
- Wear light-colored clothing with reflector tape on your shoes and carry a flashlight when going out at night.
- When catching the bus, have your fare or bus pass ready to avoid losing your balance while looking for it.
- Always have an umbrella on hand, even during sunny days.
- Avoid isolated areas and bring a friend along when leaving your neighborhood.
- Always keep your identification and important medical information on you at all times in case of an emergency.