June is National Home Safety Month and focuses on reducing the leading causes of injury in our homes. Statistics show that 1 of 3 seniors fall each year and that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults[i]. With statistics such as these, the importance of doing what we can to reduce the risk of falling is evident. Here are some tips to help keep your home a safe home.
Since bathrooms are typically the wettest places in our homes, they are also a very common place for falls to happen. Installing grab bars near toilets and showers will provide support. A walk-in shower/tub is your best option. When that is not possible, a bath tub transfer bench is a good alternative as you do not need to step into the tub.
Stairs are also a common place for falls. Installing a handrail on both sides of the stairs is an excellent way to provide additional stability. Paint, or a bright strips of tape, on the end of steps along with adequate lighting at both the top and bottom of the stairwell will make it easier to see where one step ends and another begins.
High cupboards in the kitchen often require the use of a step stool. Store commonly used items in lower cabinets so a step stool is not needed. Eliminate throw rugs and make sure there are not extension cords in walkways as both of these are common tripping hazard.
Wear appropriate footwear. High-heels, flip flops, shoes with slick soles and stocking all increase the risk of falling so a properly fitting, sturdy shoe with non-skid soles are best.
Finally, knowing your own limits and asking for help when you need it are important for overall safety. As we age, common tasks such as carrying in the groceries, bringing out the garbage, dusting the china cabinet, and other tasks become more difficult and are potentially dangerous. Asking for and accepting assistance with these tasks is another significant step to take in preventing a fall and injury.
Alan Wikman, Owner|Director of SYNERGY HomeCare
[i] National Council on Aging