For seniors: 11 ways to prevent falls at home

What is the most common cause of injury among older Canadians? Falls. According to Statistics Canada, every year approximately 85% of injury related hospitalizations for seniors are due to falls. But, as a senior, removing yourself from activities that keep you active to reduce the chance of a fall may be more detrimental than helpful. Keeping active helps maintain the parts of your physical health that help prevent falls like strength, balance and confidence.

There are much more effective things that you can do to help prevent a fall in your future. Considering the amount of time you spend at home and the control that you have over your space means small adjustments or maintenance to your home can help you avoid a fall without giving up your active lifestyle. Here are tips from the Canada Safety Council to guide you through making your home a safer place.

Go to the doctor

Your doctor may have advice for you on how to mitigate your risk of falling. Having your vision and hearing tested can help correct your senses. An error in sight or a hearing issue could lead to a fall in your home but by correcting them you reduce your risk.

Take your medication properly

You should take your medication properly as prescribed. It is important to do so as a means of fall prevention. If your medication makes you dizzy at all mention it to your doctor, and keep a medication record to review regularly with your doctor.

Install good lighting

Poor lighting or walking through your home in the dark makes it easy for a fall to occur. If you don’t have proper lighting, especially on stairways and in bathrooms make sure to install some, also nightlights along hallways help in the evening.

Banish clutter

Clearing clutter from your floors and stairs reduces the number of things you could potentially trip on and fall. Also, be mindful of rugs with edges that offer a tripping hazard and consider removing them.

Get handrails

Stairways and steps should have at least one handrail that is secure. Repairing handrails if they become damaged is very important, especially if there is only one handrail on the stairway.

Maintain your stairs

Stairs can be an easy place to slip and fall. Make sure to check that they are in good condition and slip resistant. Be prompt with repairs and add a contrasting colour strip on the edge of the step to make it easier to see.

Upkeep your property

The seasons and adverse weather conditions can make for dangerous conditions on your property that can contribute to a fall. Make sure to have ice, snow and leaves removed as well as salt or sand put down in the winter.

Wear proper footwear

What you have on your feet can contribute to a fall. Loose slippers or feet with stockings on can easily cause you to fall. What you wear on your feet should have good soles and provide support.

Install grab bars

An easy place to slip and fall is your bathroom. Slick floors and water can make for slippery surfaces and having to move around a lot can mean supports like grab bars can be a real help by offering support. A bath seat or bench might also be helpful to you.

Bath mat

Putting a rubber mat along the length of your bathtub as well as bath mat beside your bathtub that won’t skid can help prevent a slip and fall.

Double check your walking aid

If you use a walking aid, make sure that it is at the proper height and that the rubber on the bottom of aids such as canes isn’t worn. If conditions are icy install ice pics on the bottom of canes for walking outdoors in the winter.

For seniors living in their own home, your abode can begin to pose more safety issues as you age. Our Occupational Therapists can come to your home to conduct a home safety consultation to help you keep your home safe. Making small adjustments to your home is an easy way to keep you safe and healthy. Contact us today to book a home safety consultation or find out more.