Did you know that in the United States alone slip and fall rates have increased by 30% from 2006 to 2016 for older adults? According to the CDC, over 800,000 older adults a year find themselves seriously injured and in the emergency room, and 1 out of 5 falls cause broken bones. The good news is there are precautions we can take to help protect those we love and care for. Maintaining a proactive attitude with home improvements and understanding where falls are likely to happen is key to proofing your home.
What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk of Falls
1. Remove Any Possibility of Slipping from Your Home
- Start in areas where there might be spillage of water, uneven grounds or slippery floors. Using anti-slip mats in the bathroom is a great way to prevent slipping when entering and exiting the shower. If you want to add even more safety features, installing grab bars in your shower wall greatly decrease the risk for slipping and falling.
2. Secure All Carpet and Rugs
- You are comfortable and at ease, walking through your home and when you least expect it, your foot slides underneath the carpet/rug. We all know this scenario. It’s easy to drag our feet across the floor when we are walking through our homes which is why it is important to use double-sided tape to fasten the mats to the floor.
3. Maintain Your Health with Diet and Exercise
- As we grow older our muscles, joints and bones begin to become less efficient as they used too. Which is why maintaining a steady and consistent workout routine is essential to preventing injury care. Not only will you protect your body, but you will also improve on balance, mood, alertness, and coordination.
Where Are Falls Most Likely to Happen?
1. The Bedroom
- Wake up in the middle of the night? Make sure to turn on a lamp or nearby light to prevent tripping and falling in the darkness.
- Power outages can happen at any moment. Keeping an emergency flashlight in your nightstand can come in handy when you least expect it.
- Don’t sleep with your cellphone near your head, but keep it fully charged and nearby for emergency situations.
2. The Bathroom
- As mentioned above, the bathroom is a common area for slips and falls due to stepping in and out of the shower. Without grab bars or anti-slip floor mats the chances of slipping and falling increase tremendously.
- Don’t shower in the dark.
- Easy access shower. These entrances don’t involve stepping over a bathtub every time you shower.
3. General Living Areas
- If you have animals in the house, keep an extra eye out for them. Do your best not trip on them. Sometimes, dogs love to hang out by your side when cooking in the kitchen.
- Keep all cords tucked away and secured against the wall or away from the walkways.
- Don’t climb on chairs or tables to grab something you cannot reach. Ask for help or buy a proper stepping stool to use.
When fall-proofing your home it is important to understand that you are not the only ones that will be at risk. Visitors, guests, and other workers are also going to be at risk when entering your home. This opens you to possible premises liability claims and the last thing we want is the need for a personal injury lawyer to defend you and your family. Remaining proactive and staying on top of home maintenance is key to living a safe and slip-free life.