Every year, thousands of older Americans fall at home. It is one of the top reasons older individuals end up in hospital emergency rooms. Many of them are seriously injured with broken hips and head trauma. The falls are often due to hazards in the home that are easily overlooked. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your loved one from fall and serious injury. Follow the checklist to determine the hazards in each room and the instructions how to fix the problem.
Q: When you walk through a room, is there furniture in the way? Do you have to walk around the furniture.
A: Move the furniture so the path is clear.
Q: Are there throw rugs on the floors?
A: Remove the throw rugs. Some individuals use double sided tape on the rugs but that is not advisable.
Q: Are there objects on the floors such as; papers, books, shoes, boxes, etc.?
A: Always keep paths clear and objects off the floors. Pick up items and find a closet, bookcase, or cabinet for items.
Q: Are there objects on the steps waiting to be taken upstairs?
A: Once again keep objects off of stairs and pathways clear.
Q: Are there any broken steps or uneven steps?
A: Fix loose or uneven steps.
Q: Is there a light over the stairway?
A: Have an electrician put an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Q: Is there one or two light switches for your stairs (one at top and one at bottom of stairs)?
A: Have a glow light switch placed at the top and bottom of the stairs. One that is a motion switch is best.
Q: Is the carpet loose or torn on the steps?
A: Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step, if necessary remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the steps.
Q: Are handrails in place on one or both sides? As we get older having handrails on each side is best. Are the handrails loose or broken?
A: Fix any loose areas or put up new handrails.
Q: Are the items you use often on high shelves?
A: Move items you use most often in your cabinets to eye level or about waist high.
Q: Do you have a step stool you use? Is it unsteady?
A: If you use a step stool get one that is sturdy and has a bar to hold onto. Never stand on a chair.
Q: Is your tub or shower floor slippery? Depending on the type of floor in your tub or shower it can be slippery even when it is not wet.
A: Put non-slip rubber self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
Q: Are there grab bars for support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?
A: Never use towel racks to assist you in getting up. Install grab bars inside the tub/shower and next to the toilet.
Q: Is there a light by the bed? Is it hard to reach?
A: Place a lamp close to the bed that is easy to reach or is motion activated to turn on and off.
Q: Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark? Do you use nightlights?
A: Put a motion activated night-light where you are walking. Some night-lights go on at night and off during the day.
Other Things you can do to prevent falls are:
- Wear a Medical Alert bracelet or necklace that will notify emergency personnel if you fall. There are many different kinds out there to use. One of safest alert systems is the Lifeline Auto Alert. There is no button to push. The Auto Alert system identifies a fall and automatically calls you to ask if you are okay. If there is no response it will automatically call 911 for help.
- Have your vision checked at least once a year.
- Wear shoes when inside and outside your home.
- Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better.
Call us for more information about installing a Lifeline Auto Alert or to speak with a representative about a home safety evaluation call us at 215-541-9030215-541-9030.