We’ve all fallen over what seemed like nothing – a sock on the steps, a puddle on the porch, even our own two feet. But as we get older, those falls are apt to cause more than a sprained ankle or a sore back. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls every year and, of those falls, 20 percent cause serious injuries. To make matters worse, 90 percent of those falls happen at home.
Let’s face it, we don’t all heal as quickly as we used to, so preventing those falls is all the more critical as we age. As September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month, we wanted to share four ways you can make your home – or your loved one’s home – safer.
Handrails and Grab Bars: This is easily the most obvious way to prevent falls around your home. If you have stairs, even just a couple in the garage, make sure you have sturdy handrails to hold onto, whether it’s for regular use or in case you slip. In the bathroom, have a professional like TruBlue install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. It’s not all about pulling yourself up – although that’s nice too. It’s about having something to catch when you need it, especially when you’re surrounded by slippery surfaces.
Trip Hazards: Socks. Electrical Cords. Shoes. Pets. Rugs… Our houses are FULL of trip hazards and, especially when you’ve lived in a house for a while, they are easy to miss. It’s time to take a step back and find ways to minimize those hazards. Could you rearrange your lights or install ceiling lights? Can you secure your rug to the floor? Do you need maid services (we can help!)? It might seem obvious, but the smallest things can be the biggest issues when you’re not paying attention.
Slippery Surfaces: This one is obvious in the bathroom, but slipping can happen anywhere. Bring in a wet umbrella? Let out your pet after it rained? Get a little messy doing the dishes? Have a few splatters while cooking? Bump the cat bowl? There are a million ways to have a slippery floor, so the best course of action is prevention! Your local TruBlue technician can help you find ways to make those areas less of an issue with non-slip solutions.
Rearrange Your Home: Before moving your light switches and lowering your cabinets – both of which are great options for seniors aging in place – take a broader look around your home. Is your furniture arranged in a way that serves you best? Think about things like putting your bed near the light switch so you don’t need to walk across the room in the dark or moving your coffee table so you don’t bump into it for the thousandth time. Sometimes the solutions are easy!
If you’re ready to take on some of these projects, consider letting TruBlue Total House Care help you with a Senior Home Safety Assessment.