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Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. From a twisted ankle to a fractured hip, falls can greatly impact your health quality of life. Cluttered rooms, rugs that you could trip on or that slide on the floor, and dark spaces increase your risk of falling and being injured in your home. As you age, physical changes and sometimes the medications you use can make falls more likely. Still, fear of falling doesn't need to rule your life. Instead, consider these simple fall-prevention strategies to reduce your risk of injury.
Keep living spaces clear
Living rooms and spaces where you spend a lot of time can create a lot of clutter. Don’t let your coziest rooms trip you up. Here are a few ways to make it safer:
Make sure your sofa or chairs are at a height that’s easy to get up or down from
Add no-slip strips to carpets or area rugs; eliminate rugs if possible. If you have rugs, please make sure they are pushed up against the wall so there are no edges to trip on
Install handrails on both sides of any stairs
Ensure cords are not in areas you walk
Make sure your high traffic walking areas are free of clutter,
Put frequently used items (remotes, phone, walker or other assistive devices) where they are easy to reach
Bathroom: danger zone?
Bathroom tiles may look nice, but the dampness in the bathroom adds risks. Water can find its way to many spots, making stepping out of the shower riskier than it needs to be. Use these tips to upgrade your bathroom:
Towel racks aren’t safe to bear your weight, so you should never push or pull on a towel rack. Install grab bars near your toilet and shower instead
Put non-slip mats anywhere that may get wet and slippery
Use night lights to avoid late-night falls
Be cautious when stepping into and out of a tub or shower to avoid a fall
Consider using a tub bench or shower seat so that you can bathe without sitting on the bottom of the tub or standing in the shower
Safety for other rooms
Other rooms in your house might need some updates too. These ideas could stop you from falling into your kitchen, bedroom, or other spaces:
Run extension cords along the walls, away from walking spaces
Keep a flashlight and phone near your bed at night
Don’t use a chair to reach things; they aren’t engineered for standing on. Instead, use a ‘reach stick’ or step stool, or ask for help
Add slip guards to hardwood floors
If possible, consider adding a bannister or other assistive devices to your stairs
These tips can only reduce the risk of falls. If you fall, keep emergency numbers written in large print in each room. Getting your eyes and ears checked can also reduce your risk of falling. Talk to your health care team if you’re concerned about your balance. You can use Secure Messaging to reach out about non-urgent questions.