Why Fall Prevention?
Did you know every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall in the United States? That is a pretty staggering statistic. In 2014, 1 in 4 older adults reported a fall. Over 7 million of those falls required medical treatment and more than 27,000 older adults died as a result of falling. Imagine all of the older adults in your life and how many have fallen. Our goal at Fyzical of Shady Grove is to lower this statistic by treating patients who are at high risk of falls and help prevent them from falling in the future. There are also some simple ways to reduce the risk of falling just by looking around your own home.
Follow this Home Safety Checklist adapted from the CDC to help identify potential hazards and fall risks in your home:
First, take a look at your floors:
Make sure there is a clear path through the room. Move any furniture out of the way, so that you don't have to weave around it to walk through the room.
Pick up objects that are lying on the floor and avoid use the floor as storage for clothes, shoes, books, magazines, etc.
Tack down or coil any wires or cords so that they are against a wall.
Remove throw rugs or use a double-sided tape or non-slip backing so they don't slip.
Next, take a look at the stairs both inside and outside:
Always keep objects off the stairs.
Fix loose or uneven steps.
Ensure there is light by each set of stairs and a light switch at both the top and bottom.
Make sure carpet is firmly attached to each step or remove the carpet entirely
Fix loose handrails or install new ones. Make sure you have a hand rail on both sides of the stair well.
Now, move onto the kitchen:
Keep items you use most frequently on the lower shelves, so they can be easily reached.
If you must use a step stool to reach something on a high shelf, make sure the step stool is sturdy and has a handle to hold onto. Never use a chair as a step stool.
Next, look at your bedroom:
Place a lamp next to your bed that can be easily reached.
Put in a nightlight so that you can see where you're walking at night.
Lastly, look at your bathrooms:
Put down non-slip mats or strips in the shower to avoid stepping onto a slick surface.
Install grab bars next to and inside the tub or shower, and next to the toilet.
If you or someone you know has fallen in the last year, has difficulty walking or maintaining their balance, schedule an appointment with your doctor to be screened for preventable risks.