Falls become more of a concern with age, but you can take a proactive approach to reducing your risks. Your health and physical condition can impact your risks of falling. The physical environment is also a factor. Follow these steps to reduce your fall risk.
No matter where you live, a simple way to reduce your fall risk is to remove tripping hazards from the space. Clutter on the floor, cords across walkways and area rugs are some common causes of trips. Walk through each room in your home, paying special attention to anything that could trip you or slip under your feet. Remove them or find ways to move them to a different area to keep you from getting tripped up when you walk through that room.
Having clear paths through your home can help you stay on your feet better. This might mean you need to rearrange your furniture to ensure you have enough space to navigate well. Test the different walkways to ensure you can get around them safely. Try moving furniture against the walls or to other parts of the room to give yourself wider paths.
Having a little extra support throughout your home can help you stay steady on your feet. Grab bars in your bathroom are a good place to start. You might place bars near the toilet and in and near your shower to provide support as you use those areas. If you have stairs in your home, ensure you have secure handrails on both sides of the stairs as support when you go up or down. Bed rails that fit onto your current bed can help you get in and out of your bed safely.
Your eyesight can decrease with age, which makes it more challenging to see things that could cause you to trip. Increasing the lighting throughout your home can make it easier to see where everything is located so you can avoid obstacles. Adding lamps throughout your living spaces can increase light levels. Stairs are also a common tripping area. Motion-activated lights along the stairs turn on automatically to help you see each step.
If your balance isn't what it used to be, you might benefit from using assistive or mobility devices. Canes and walkers are two common options if you need some extra support while you're walking. You can also use tools like grabbers to reach items easier. Stretching or standing on something to reach items could cause you to lose your balance.
Using those mobility devices might mean you need to make changes to your home to accommodate them. For instance, a walker can be wide and bulky, so your home needs enough space to fit it well. If you use a wheelchair, you'll need even more space to maneuver.
Strong muscles, balance and coordination can all help you lower your fall risk. To help, incorporate exercise throughout the week that focuses on those things. A senior exercise class is one option with moves that are safer for older adults. Yoga and similar exercises can help you strengthen your muscles while working on your balance.
What you wear on your feet can impact how steady you are. Choose supportive shoes with plenty of traction to avoid slipping while you walk. If you like to wear socks around the house, switch to socks with grippy soles to give yourself more traction than regular socks.
Your health and medical conditions can impact your fall risks. Issues with your feet and vision can come into play. You might also be on medications that could cause dizziness or affect your balance. Discuss fall prevention with your doctor, addressing any specific conditions based on your health. Your doctor may offer options for improving your health to reduce your fall risk. They can also monitor changes to things like decreased sensation in your feet that could make you more likely to fall.
You can control your home environment by removing fall risks, but you never know what you'll encounter in public or in other people's homes. Scan new environments carefully when you enter them to identify potential hazards. This could include things like clutter that could cause you to trip and wet or slippery surfaces that could make you lose your footing.
Living at home, especially if it's just you on the property, can put you at a greater risk for falls. Assisted living communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella offer safe, accessible environments for older adults. The 24-7 staffing means you'll have round-the-clock access to assistance for things like getting out of bed, bathing or going to the bathroom. Having a trained staff member there to help can allow you to do those things safely with a lower chance of falling.
Plus, you have fewer responsibilities since maintenance is handled by the community. That means you won't need to climb a stepladder to perform home maintenance tasks, so you can keep both feet on the ground where you have a lower risk of falling.