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Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. They can lead to twisted ankles or fractured hips, impacting your quality of life. Cluttered rooms, rugs that bunch up or slide, and dark spaces increase your risk of falling. 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. Consider these simple strategies to reduce your risk of injury.
Keep living spaces clear
Living rooms and spaces where you spend a lot of time can collect 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 heights that allow you to easily get up or down.
Eliminate rugs if possible. If you can't, add non-slip strips. Make sure rugs are pushed up against the wall so there are fewer edges to trip on.
Install handrails on both sides of any stairs.
Ensure cords don't cross over 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're easy to reach.
Bathroom: danger zone?
Bathroom tiles may look nice, but dampness adds risks. Water can find its way into many spots. This makes stepping out of the shower riskier than it needs to be. Use these tips to upgrade your bathroom:
Never push or pull on a towel rack. They aren’t safe to bear your weight. Instead, install grab bars near your toilet and shower.
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.
Consider using a tub bench or shower seat to avoid 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 can help:
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,' step stool, or ask for help.
Add slip guards to hardwood floors.
If possible, consider adding a banister or other assistive devices to your stairs.
These tips can only reduce the risk of falls. Be prepared with 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.