Did you know that:
- 1 in 3 seniors will experience a fall each year, and half of those more than once.
- 40% of seniors’ falls result in hip fractures;
- 20% of injury-related deaths among seniors can be traced back to a fall;
- seniors are injured at home more than any other location. The bathroom and stairs are particularly dangerous.
Bathroom: Ensure that you have non-slip surfaces in the tub and shower; install grab bars by the toilet and bath to help you sit and stand; use a raised toilet seat, and a bath seat in the shower, if you need them.
Living room and bedroom: Reduce clutter! Consider using a cordless phone to avoid rushing to answer; have good lighting through the house and install night lights; get rid of scatter mats as they are a tripping hazard.
Kitchen: Store pots and pans in easy-to-reach locations; store heavy items in lower cupboards; use a stable step stool with a safety rail for reaching high places.
Stairs: Make sure your stairs are well lit; have solid handrails on both sides of the stairway; remove your reading glasses when you go up or down the stairs; and never rush up or down the stairs. It’s a major cause of falls.
Exterior: Keep front steps and walkway in good repair and free of snow, ice and leaves; and keep your front entrance well lit.
Eat healthy meals: nutritious meals keep up strength resistance and balance; don’t skip meals. It can cause weakness and dizziness.
Keep fit: Engage in physical activity every day. It’s your best defence against falls. Walk, try Tai Chi or do what you can to maintain your flexibility and balance. Build your muscle and bone strength by doing “resistance” activities or exercises such as weight lifting. Consult your doctor before you embark on an exercise program. Have your hearing and vision checked regularly.
Use medication wisely: Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects of prescription or over-the-counter medication; read directions carefully so your’re aware of potential reactions with other medications; and if your medication causes dizziness or sleepiness, adjust your activities so you aren’t at risk of falling.
Use safety aids: Don’t be embarrassed to use aids to daily living – they can keep you safe and active; wear your glasses and hearing aid; consider using a walker or cane that is the correct height and that is rubber-tipped for safety. Wear appropriate footwear that provides good support that can help to prevent falls.
If you fall:
- Try to land on your buttocks to prevent more serious injuries;
- Don’t rusk to get up. Make sure you are not injured before trying to get up or letting others help you get up.
- Don’t let the fear of falling again prevent you from being active. Inactivity creates an even greater risk of falling.