Preventing falls in the home
Monday 26th January
Anyone can suffer a fall, but, as you grow older falls can become more common and more likely to cause you injury. Very often falls occur at home so it’s important to be aware of risks. There are a number of precautions you can take to prevent falls and minimise any injuries sustained.
Specialist products are available to provide greater security and assistance in the home. Ensuring the maintenance of your home and installing modifications where appropriate may also help make your home environment safer. Small changes can make a big difference, for example fitting grab rails by doors or in the bathroom can help with mobility - especially, if you’ve experienced difficulty getting in or out of the bath or shower.
Often a fall can be traced back to an unsuitable environment; there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of falling at home:
- Wear the right shoes – comfortable, firm-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle
- Wear well-fitting slippers
- Don’t walk in socks or tights on slippery floors
- Make sure clothing doesn’t trail and cause a trip hazard
- Remove slip or trip hazards like loose rugs or mats and consider repairing or replacing worn carpets
- Wipe up any spills immediately
- Make sure there is adequate lighting, especially at night
- Keep walkways in good condition and clear
- Mark the edge of steps so they are easy to see
- Remove clutter and organise your home so that you can avoid unnecessary climbing, bending or stretching
Although many falls can be attributed to environment there can be other factors so it’s useful to be aware of changes in your body. Weakening muscles and stiffening of joints or changes in your sight are naturally linked to the ageing process; however these symptoms could also be side effects of prescribed medicines or early indicators of underlying health conditions. If you have any concerns about your health or medication you should talk to your GP.
Regular exercise aimed at improving your balance and strength is beneficial. Short-term illness can also make you more susceptible to falls during recovery. If you or someone close to you falls, it’s important to consider whether they experienced any symptoms such as dizziness or confusion leading up to it.
Benenden wellbeing have partnered with healthcare.co.uk to offer benenden health members access to a range of independent living products aimed at helping you stay safe and mobile.