Follow these tips to reduce risk of falls.
September is National Fall Prevention Month, a time when we’re reminded of how important it is to understand the ways we can reduce the risk of falling both in our homes and while we’re out and about.
In honor of this month, here are six helpful tips to reduce the risk of falls:
- Remove tripping hazards
- Brighten up dim spaces
- Do strength and balance exercises
- Know the health risk factors
- Choose sturdy shoes
- Install assistive home devices
Learn more about these tips to reduce the risk of falls below!
Remove tripping hazards
A big part of fall prevention is removing the things that can increase your risk for a fall. Look for things like:
- Cords from lamps and electronics (try taping them to the wall to keep them out of the way)
- Loose rugs that can slip or get caught underfoot (taping is an option here too, or putting a grip mat underneath)
- Loose floorboards
- Furniture in high-traffic areas, like coffee tables
Think of things in high-traffic areas that you could potentially trip over or walk into, and rearrange from there.
Brighten up dim spaces
If you can’t clearly see where you’re going, walking safely can be difficult. Add lamps or brighter overhead bulbs to dark rooms in your house. Try plugging nightlights into your hallway and bathroom outlets to keep them lit for when you need to move around at night. Also, it’s a good idea to keep multiple flashlights in easily accessible places around the house, so you always have a backup plan for power outages.
Do strength and balance exercises
Another top fall prevention strategy is to keep your body active and limber, so your balance and reflexes can pitch in to help prevent potential falls. There are a variety of simple fall prevention exercises you can do to improve the physical skills that keep you upright. They can include a chair sit-to-stand exercise, marching in place, leg raises, balancing on one leg, and more. Check out this article on exercises that improve balance! As always, check in with your doctor before starting any type of exercise routine.
Know the health risk factors
If you’ve never had to worry about falls before, the increased risk as you get older might sneak up on you unnoticed over time. Talk to your doctor about falls, and if there are reasons you should be extra careful. Since we rely on our ears to help us balance, ear-related health concerns can be a risk factor for falls. Eye disorders join the list as well since you’re less able to spot tripping hazards. You may have a health condition or take medication that makes you dizzy, fatigued, or unsteady on your feet. It’s best to be aware of these risk factors so you can be extra conscious of how to reduce your risk of falls.
Choose sturdy shoes
If your home has smooth flooring, it might benefit you to wear shoes or slippers with a good grip on the soles indoors. The same goes for walking out and about, especially in weather where conditions might be slippery. Here’s a guide to selecting well-fitting non-slip shoes for seniors.
Install assistive home devices
If you’re worried about falls or you’ve fallen before, now’s the time to outfit your home with tools for success. Grab bars and a sturdy seat for the shower and toilet are a great first step since the bathroom is usually one of the more slippery zones of a house. If you live in a home with stairs, having handrails on both sides and carpet or non-slip mats can reduce risky falls. You can also keep a personal device like a cane or walker in the house to help you get around when you’re feeling unsteady.
With the help of these fall prevention tips, you can keep on walking with a pep in your step. Find more helpful content on our senior living and independence blog!