Winter is just around the corner, and with it, ice! But did you know slipping and falling is actually more likely to occur in or around your own home than it is anywhere else? Ice gets a bad rap, but it isn’t the most dangerous contributor to bad falls or broken bones.
Falling in or around the home is the most common cause of serious injury among the 65+. According to the CDC, as many as 1 out of 4 seniors fall every year. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The National Council On Aging says, “Falling is not an inevitable result of aging.”
In other words, most of the time, falling is preventable! So here are 7 popular tips to prevent falls and slips:
1. See your doctor regularly: It’s important to schedule check-up appointments with your doctor regularly, even if you are not feeling ill. There are certain diseases and illnesses that do not have noticeable symptoms but a doctor will be able to spot them. Also, check-ups while you’re healthy are good preventative care measures.
2. Monitor your blood pressure: Dizziness is a major culprit of slips and falls. Stand up slowly, and take your time.
3. Buy shoes with non-slip soles (and then wear them): Wearing shoes at home may not be your first choice, but shoes are more successful than socks or slippers at preventing falls, especially on wooden floors or wet surfaces.
4. Leave the lights on: Use night lights and/or leave the hall light on to guide you. Do not navigate your home in the dark–no matter how well you know every nook and cranny. As a precaution, keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power goes out.
5. Remove or repair the hazards: Look for items you can remove from your walkways. Ask for help repairing loose floor boards or broken handrails. Ask a friend or family member to help you identify hazards you may not even recognize as hazards. (Phone cords, anyone?)
6. Buy the hardware: Install (or ask someone to install) handrails, grab bars, and non-slip tub mats in the bathroom. These upgrades are affordable and practical–and should be added long before you think you need them. What does the old proverb say? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
7. Be careful: Simple advice, but cost- and health-effective when followed. Practice the pause. When sitting or standing, wait a moment before walking. When carrying large items, take small, careful steps. Ask for help. Be proactive about repairs. Taking fewer risks generally results in fewer accidents.
Finally, if you do fall–even if it doesn’t cause major injury–talk to your doctor. It could be a sign that something else may be wrong and could be easily fixed to prevent a serious fall at a later time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to the senior living professionals at Gull Creek. It’s important to us that each member of our vibrant community stay safe and warm this winter!