If you are considering how to fall-proof a home, there are a couple of different places to start. First of all, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. The doctor is going to ask a few basic questions which you should be ready to answer. They are going to ask whether you have fallen before, if it is health conditions that are putting you at risk for a fall, and what medications you are taking.
After you speak with your doctor to mitigate the above risks, the next thing to do is look into getting solid footwear. Wearing the right shoes in your home will greatly reduce the risk of falling over wearing the slip-prone shoes or no shoes at all. A doctor will often be able to tell you what types of footwear are recommended. Slippers can easily fall off, while thick soled shoes can stick to carpeted areas and cause falls. Shoes with a lot of cushions might be nice, but can make an elderly person unsteady. Smooth bottomed shoes can slip. So what type of shoes should you buy? According to the New York Times, they recommend shoes that tie and fit firmly, but can easily be slipped on and off (for this reason they recommend wearing elastic laces for easily slipping in and out of the shoes). Additionally, shoes with laces can fit custom orthotics which are often necessary for elderly individuals.
After finding a safe pair of shoes, we can move on to how to actually make areas in your house safer. One of the most common places people fall is in the shower or surrounding bathroom area. Make sure there is ample traction on the bottom of the shower to avoid slips. If there isn’t, you can purchase adhesive grip tape pretty inexpensively from a local hardware store. Additionally, it is wise to install a grab bar and seat for ease of showering. Eliminating steps in and out of the shower is a must. The safest type of shower for an elderly person is one without the bath tub built in.
Next, make sure the home is well lit. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into an elderly person’s house and because of dim lighting, have barely been able to see. The pole lights found at every hardware store are often the cheapest ways to add more light to a room. Make sure that the light fixtures have the brightest bulbs they are rated for. Also, make sure the lights are within arm’s reach of favorite chairs or couches. It is important to keep the cords out of the way in order to prevent tripping. Increasing the quantity of light in a house has proven to decrease the risk of falls.
Keep active no matter what the activity is. It is important to stay active, if even for a little bit. This means doing chair exercises, walking briskly, and even running. Chair exercises can strengthen your leg muscles and prevent the risk of falls which occur when a person gets up too quickly. Before doing any exercise, consult with your doctor to make sure it is within your level of health. The doctor can provide exercise recommendations as well.
If you are thinking about falls, it could be a good time to look into a medical alert system. These systems help you if you ever find yourself in an emergency. They promote independence because you can continue daily activity and not have to worry about what happens if you get into an accident. You simply press the button and help is on its way. Whether you are fall proofing a home or looking for ideas on how to safely stay independent in your house, I hope this has helped. Feel free to click through the links on this post to find out more information about each of the topics.
Our most basic medical alert system; includes both a bracelet and necklace attachment.
Linear PERS Product Page
A mobile medical alert; speak directly to an operator through the wearable device.
eResponder Product Page