Staying Safe in the HomeDecember 6, 2018
There are many preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of accidents and/or falls in the house. While none of them are foolproof, if you or a loved one is at risk for falling (and even if you or they are not), here is a checklist of five areas in the house that can usually be made safer:
- Furniture, accessories, and narrow pathways:
This might seem obvious but sometimes it’s not. Are the pathways in the house completely free of furniture and non-essential items? Anything that a foot/shoe could be caught on should be noted and if possible, removed out of the pathway. In regards to furniture this can include couches, chairs, tables, etc. Make sure the chairs and couches are at the right height. If they are too high or too low, a struggle to get up can occur which increases a risk for falling.
- Doorsills and steps:
Often times doorsills and steps are underestimated but can lead to many accidents. Make sure the doorsills are painted a different color or have reflective tape on them to help them stand out. This goes for the edge of the steps as well. Check to see if there are loose carpeting, unstable wood, or erosion of any sort on or around the steps. Also try to light the area as much as possible to eliminate shadows and minimize risk.
Lighting in one of the easiest fixes and the most important fix. Make sure that the entire house is lit and lit well. This means that you should be using at least a 60-watt bulb wherever there is a lamp or light fixture. Check for areas in the house that aren’t lit and either install lighting or add a lamp to the area. With lamps around the house and any other appliance, make sure the exposed cords are tucked away. The lamps and lighting fixtures should always be within reach but far enough away from the pathways to be out of the way.
This is another easy fix especially with today’s technology. If using a landline telephone, make sure there is a telephone in each room within reach. This way you or your loved won’t have to rush to get the ringing phone. Standing up to quickly can cause light-headedness or dizziness or can cause the individual to lose focus of their surroundings and cause a fall within an area of the house that otherwise would never have happened.
Bathrooms are a great place to fall proof because water on the hard surfaces in the bathroom can cause them to become very slick. It’s important to have anti-slip mats such as a rubber mat to assist with getting in and out of the tub/shower. Walk-in showers are ideal, but if a walk-in shower isn’t an option, grab bars in and around the bathtub will minimize the risk of an accident. If the shower/bathing area gets too wet, keep a towel nearby to dry the floor.
These simple steps are just a start to minimizing falls. Exercise, good diet, proper medications, and being aware of your surroundings are also important aspects in reducing the risk of a fall.
Jacob Edward is the manager of Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Jacob founded Prime Medical Alert in 2009 and has helped many seniors safely remain independent in the comfort of their homes.