8 Tips for avoiding slips and falls inside and outside of your home
Every year, older adults are seriously injured by falling. In fact, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room because of a fall, and every 19 minutes, an older adult will die because of a fall. While they are not always severe, falls commonly result in injuries or fractures to the head, hips, spine, legs, and arms.
There are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling and the chance of serious injury if you do.
Moving around helps to strengthen your bones and muscles. Exercising – or doing anything you can to avoid staying still – helps in two ways. It helps improve your balance, which will help you avoid falling. It also increases muscle mass, which helps with your control and could help avoid serious injuries.
Follow your doctor’s care plan
Be sure to take your medications properly and as directed by your doctor. Be aware of side effects that could make you tired, dizzy, or off balance.
If you depend on medical equipment, be sure to use it both inside your home and when you go outside or visit public spaces. Using assistive devices properly can help keep you safe as you are moving around.
There are simple household tips to lower your fall risk.
- First, inside your home, make sure pathways and stairs are free of clutter and excess furniture and pathways are well lit.
- Remove scatter rugs in all parts of your home or apartment. Make sure your bath rug has a non-slip surface.
- Ensure you have proper handrails on stairs inside and outside of the house and – more importantly – that you use them.
- In the bathroom, make sure you have handrails to make it easier to get in and out of the shower, safely. If you’re unsteady, consider a tub bench.
When you’re outside, especially in the bad weather:
- Wear appropriate footwear. Wear boots or shoes with slip resistant soles. Rubber soles are safest. Don’t wear loose-fitting shoes or shoes with high heels.
- Keep your hands free. Bracing yourself with your hands helps avoid serious injuries. Avoid carrying items in slippery conditions. If you fall while you are holding something, drop it so that you can protect yourself.
- Pay attention. Be aware of your surroundings, especially snow, patches of ice, or uneven surfaces.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for safe conditions where you live. You may be able to contact a landlord, condo association, or city or town for winter safety issues, including snow and ice removal.
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