Falls can have serious consequences. This list provides some simple habits that can help you and your loved ones avoid dangerous falls.
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
Look before you leap! Always look where you are walking to make sure there is nothing you could trip on. Walk slowly—rushing can put you off balance. Use your cane or walker if one as been prescribed. If you don’t feel well, ask for help.
2. Get plenty of rest, proper nutrition, and hydration.
Stay energized! Get enough sleep—when you are tired, you are less aware and more likely to bump into objects. Be sure to eat properly and drink plenty of water. Finally, follow the advice of your doctors and caregivers.
Remove the clutter! Make your environment safer by getting rid of excess furniture and clutter that could make you trip and fall, such as low coffee tables, magazine racks, footstools, and plants. Arrange furniture so that you have a clear pathway from room to room.
4. Avoid trip-ups.
Keep it clear! Remove items that lie on the floor and can cause you to trip and fall, such as area rugs, extension cords, and other things that can become obstacles in your path.
Make way! Be sure that you have 36 to 42 inches of clearance in your walking path.
6. Hold on.
Get a grip! Hold on to sturdy furniture or handrails if you are unsteady on your feet. Consider installing additional handrails anyplace they are needed.
7. Pay attention.
Know what’s trouble! Pay close attention to fall trouble spots. The bathroom and kitchen are common injury areas. Know where your have handholds if you should trip, and install handrails if needed. Also, make sure your footwear is in good repair. Worn soles on your shoes can cause you to slip. If you wear slippers, be sure they have rubber soles.
Move it or lose it! Ask your doctor to prescribe an appropriate exercise plan to help you improve your balance, gait, and muscle tone. In addition to your doctor, you can work with a physical therapist and develop an exercise plan to help increase strength and balance. Regular exercise improves all areas of your life—so enjoy it.
Light your way! A dark home is a dangerous home so make sure you keep yours well lit. Pay special attention to areas where you walk frequently like pathways to and from the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. Consider installing nightlights and remember to keep a flashlight handy at all times in case the power fails.
Follow directions! Failure to take medication properly is a major cause of falls and fall-related injuries. So take your medication as directed, on time, and at the dosage prescribed. Do not skip medications. Report any side effects or negative reactions to your doctor.