When it comes to fall prevention and balance — it’s easy to become worried that one day, a fall may result in an injury. You may find yourself holding onto nearby objects for balance and you’re worried that with one wrong move, you could end up hurting yourself.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury among older adults. In fact, falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits each year. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling in your home. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss five ways for you to prevent falls in your own home.
- Make Sure Your Home is Well Lit
One of the most important things you can do to prevent falls in your home is to make sure it is well-lit. Poor lighting can make it difficult to see obstacles or changes in flooring which could potentially lead to a fall. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, have adequate lighting in all areas of the house (especially hallways and stairwells). One way to do this is to consider installing motion-activated lights or nightlights so you don’t have to remember to turn them on yourself and they will be activated whenever you walk past.
2. Remove Clutter and Tripping Hazards
When it comes to fall prevention, it’s important that you keep a tidy space. Clutter and tripping hazards are major causes of falls in the home. To prevent this from happening, free your home from clutter, such as boxes, books, pet toys, magazines, and other likewise items that could easily be tripped over or cause someone to stumble. Also all electrical cords should be tucked away properly and out of sight. Tripping on a cord could make for a serious injury — so do what you can to eliminate the possibility!
3. Install Non-Slip Mats and Rugs
One way to ensure you’re actively preventing slips and falls is to install and purchase non-slip mats throughout your home – especially in bathrooms where spills are more frequent and likely to occur. Area rugs can be detrimental if the edges are not secured with double-sided tape or they don’t have a non-slip backing. It would be preferable to not have area rugs around, unless your living facility requires it. If so, have one large enough in the room that it covers most of the space. If you have hardwood floors, either wear nonskid socks or rubber-soled shoes.
4. Use Assistive Devices When Needed
If you find yourself unsteady on your feet or having difficulty getting around due to balance issues, consider using assistive devices such as walkers or canes for additional support. These devices can provide extra stability while walking which can help reduce the risk of falls and provide peace of mind knowing that you have something there for added support. If you decide to go this route, you must be given proper instruction by a Physical Therapist on how to safely use the assistive device.
5. Improve Balance with Exercise
One great way to prevent injury from falls is to prioritize improving your balance with exercise — and one great way to do that is through physical therapy! Exercise is an important part of staying healthy as we age — but it’s also an important way for us to improve our balance and reduce the risk of falling in the home. Regular exercises taught to you by your physical therapist help strengthen your muscles which can help improve your balance and coordination — two key components when it comes to preventing falls. Talk with your PT about what types of exercises or plan of treatment is needed to actively take steps to prevent falls in the home.
If you’re experiencing balance difficulties and feel as though you are at risk of falling and injuring yourself — these tips (as well as physical therapy) can help! To learn more about how we can help you reduce the risk of falling by improving your balance, coordination and strengthening your muscles, contact us at 301-493-9257 or click here to schedule a Free 20 minute call to discuss your issues and come up with a plan to help you feel confident on your feet.
In the meantime, be sure to take advantage of these five tips and implement them in your household when you can. The more you take precautions, the more calm and confident you’ll feel on your own two feet.
To Your Health,