Step 1 | Clean up your home and install grab bars where possible.
Clutter is a major hazard. You may never know what you step on if you aren’t paying attention. It could be a ball you will trip off of and then fall, or it could be something with a sharp tip such as a pen and then you would risk injuring your foot. That’s why it’s best you keep all walkways clean and organized. Keep your belongings to the side and if there’s something you can’t move, ask for help from your neighbors, kids, or that man you see every morning that always waves hello. After you have cleaned up your home, install grab bars wherever possible. Mainly on your walls so you have something to hold onto while walking. These can help you walk around your house without having to use a cane where the bars are installed and thus you drastically decrease the chances of falling in your own home. Once your home is organized and you have the support to walk with the grab bars, you’re on your way to “fall-proofing” your home.
Step 2 | Repair hazards in your home and limit your use of loose clothing.
The cracks in your tiles, the damage to your carpet, even your carpet having bumps in it due to it not being flat are all hazards that can lead to terrible falls. The cracks in your tiles can lead to them being uneven and you may place your step such that you can slip and fall. Having carpet that isn’t perfectly flat can lead you to trip and ultimately fall. That’s why you should repair these hazards immediately and by “these hazards” I am not just referring to the ones previously mentioned. If you have a grab rail that is loose on one end but feels firm and supportive on the other, then this is a hazard too. Diagnose everything in your home that feels even a bit dangerous and try to avoid it or repair it. If repairing the dangers of your home isn’t an option then remove them and install new ones. And if this is going to be costly then ultimately avoid the hazards as frequently as possible, this helps decrease the chance of a fall. Especially around the dangers of your home, do not wear loose clothing. Sure, putting on a dress every now and then is fine but you never know if you will trip over it, and on carpet that is damaged and is uneven it could get snagged, the chances of a fall are greatly increased.
Step 3 | Wear shoes and make the floors as durable as possible.
Wearing shoes, especially sneakers because of the grip they offer, can easily reduce the chances of a fall. Walking barefoot or with socks on can make you slip, especially if a drink has spilled or you are on a slippery surface, such as tile. What I mean by make the floors as durable as possible is simple, make them non-slip. Carpets are the best for areas such as your living room, but where carpet cannot be installed or shouldn’t such as the kitchen or bathrooms, use non-slip mats. You will feel safer while walking on them and you definitely will be safer too. Shoes+durable flooring almost guarantees you will not fall in your home. A complete 100% guarantee will only come from following the next two steps.
If possible, try to live only on the first floor. Stairs are hard to climb and there is a good percentage of elderly people with joint pain, especially in their knees. Not only is it hard to climb, but it also is risky to climb. It is very easy to trip and fall off of stairs and if they aren’t properly carpeted, then the chances of this happening skyrocket. All this was written while thinking of climbing up stairs, but what about coming down? That is even more dangerous as you have to slowly and carefully walk down the stairs and the wrong step can lead to a fatal ending. If it is impossible to live only on one floor then ensure there are rails on the stairs, preferably on both sides. While walking it is crucial you are in an environment with enough lights so that can you clearly see everything around you. The slightest doubt in an object can lead you to thinking it is either just the floor or something that isn’t dangerous, a very big miscalculation. If you have to question what you are seeing then turn on more lights immediately. If you have doubt of what something is then don’t approach it, make sure you can first clearly identify it and then walk around it. Not seeing something and then falling because of it is a careless and preventable fall. Now with one more step your home can officially be “fall proof.”
Step 5 | Take care of yourself and walk carefully!
If you are feeling ill, do not have the support by your side to walk, or feel weak or dizzy then the best advice you should take out of this article is don’t move! Stay seated and rest until you feel in control of your body and then decide to move. You never know if that dizziness you feel or the illness can lead to you fainting, and falling. Not only will you have to be treated for the illness but you may have even sustained an injury if you have fallen because of it. If you are feeling great and are able to move around freely, then walk carefully! Walk slowly and keep an eye out for everything around you to make sure you do not fall. “It’s better to be one minute late than dead on time.” Get to where you need to slowly, with patience.
Following all the steps above can ensure you will almost never fall and you can live the rest of your life comfortably in your own home, without the risk of injury. To stay truly independent we recommend using a Medical Alert System just in case you do have a fall. Here at StopTheFall.org we endorse LifeStation Medical Alert Systems as we find them to offer the best & most reliable product. We encourage you to use promo code "CPR3" at LifeStation.com when purchasing a LifeStation Medical Alert System and save substantially.