SIMPLE TIPS TO PREVENT A FALL
Simple changes can be made in and around your home to help prevent falls and eliminate tripping hazards. Here are 10 suggestions.
- Remove scatter rugs
Remove throw rugs throughout the home that are easy to trip over. Make sure it has a no-slip bottom.
When you’ve lived in a place for several years, you can collect a lot of clutter, which can become a fall risk. Remove items, such as stacks of books or boxes, that you may trip over and cause you to fall.
- Keep pathways clear
Clear pathways of trip hazards — such as clutter, power cords, or extra furniture — so that it’s easier to move around. This includes hallways as well as the route around your bed.
- Fix uneven surfaces
As people age, vision changes may mean their depth perception isn’t as good as before, and they may not see the details of walking surfaces. Fix uneven walkways and steps inside and outside the home to help prevent falls.
Good lighting is important to illuminate pathways and surfaces inside and outside the home. Open curtains or blinds to let in natural light. Add extra lighting, such as nightlights in hallways or light strips on steps. Consider motion-sensor lighting inside or outside.
Install a higher toilet or a seat extender, which are better for people with arthritis or knee problems. Other fall-prevention changes include using nonslip rugs, adding a shower chair, and installing grab bars near the shower, tub and toilet.
Add a railing along stairs — or on both sides of steps — to help navigate inside or outside your home.
Consider building a ramp that leads to the front or back door.
Decrease the amount of furniture throughout your home so there are fewer obstacles. If you can afford it, replace sharp-edged furniture with pieces that have soft, rounded edges to reduce the risk of injury should you fall.
- Check your vision
Since poor eyesight can lead to falls, older adults should get an eye exam yearly. You may need glasses, have an age-related condition like cataracts, or need to update your eyeglass prescription.
- Strengthen muscles
Age-related muscle weakness and deteriorating balance also can contribute to falls. Take brisk walks for 30 minutes three times a week to strengthen your leg muscles. Before walking, do some light stretches, such as easy bends and knee flexes while holding onto a chair. Exercise can help improve your balance.
The article was written by Sheryl Jean, who is a contributing writer covering aging, business, technology, travel, health, and human-interest stories for AARP.