Taking Steps to Prevent Falls
As part of CCH’s mission to provide quality affordable housing in caring communities, we are committed to helping seniors age in place with dignity and grace. This includes being aware of and helping inform residents of potential safety hazards which can cause injury.
Falls are one of the most prevalent reasons for why seniors end up in the hospital. Below are some common safety tips for helping prevent falls and recommended steps to increase awareness of and correct potential hazards:
- Rugs are easy to trip over and should be removed in the home, but if they are left in place, anti-slip pads should be placed underneath them.
- Avoid stepping on wet or damp surfaces and immediately clean up any spills to avoid a potential slip and fall.
- Wear anti-slip footwear, install anti-slip flooring or add anti-slip products to floors.
- Minimize clutter by clearing out unneeded items and either gifting them to family and friends or donating them where they can be used. If you’re sentimental, keep only one item instead of storing multiple items.
- Keep all electrical cords and extension wires safely tucked away to avoid tripping over them.
- Keep outdoor areas clear of debris to avoid tripping and falling.
- Use nightlights throughout the home, especially ones that automatically turn on when the room gets dark, to help illuminate areas.
- Consider lift chairs and lift recliners for persons who have difficulty getting up from a seated position.
- Use low pile carpeting which is best for seniors using a cane or walker in the house.
- Take advantage of available tools and adaptive equipment including:
- Put grab bars and hand rails in place to assist in any room and not just the bathroom;
- Replace standard towel racks with more secure grab bars in case they are needed to hold onto to help prevent a fall;
- Consider using shower chairs, benches and three-in-one commodes which some seniors prefer for supporting the arms and back; and
- Install stair treads on wooden staircases to help prevent a slip and fall.
Keep in mind, a vast majority of falls can be prevented by taking the necessary corrective action of decluttering and keeping the environment organized; making flooring as non-slip as possible; avoiding use of rugs; and using the right tools, such as canes, walkers, stair treads, and grab bars. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This axiom is as true today as it was more than a century ago.