During our childhood, most of us would fall and then bounce back up like it was nothing.
Clearing the home of tripping hazards and practicing exercises to boost your balance might feel like a waste of time.
But if you’re 65 or older, spending a few extra minutes each day to prevent falls might just save your life.
No matter how young and fit we feel, our bodies are less equipped to handle falls than when we were in our 30s.
Consider these alarming statistics from the CDC:
- Every 11 seconds, an adult above 65 is treated in the emergency room for a fall
- Every 19 minutes, an adult above 65 dies from a fall
Now, combine these statistics with the fact that 1 in 4 adults over 65 fall each year.
None of us want to contribute to these statistics.
So why not take a few minutes out of your day to prevent a fall?
Our team of fall prevention specialists at our physical therapy clinic in SWFL have your back!
These 5 quick and easy tips can help you prevent falls and bounce back quicker if you do happen to fall:
#1: Keep it Clean & Keep it Lit
Of course, the easiest way to prevent a fall in your own home is to clear the area of tripping hazards and keep it well lit whenever you are walking around.
Spend a few minutes every day to ensure there aren’t any tripping hazards. Look for cords running across the floor, objects, and clothing on the floor. Put these items in an appropriate place where you won’t trip over them.
If you have any small, loose rugs, get rid of them. Chances are, you’ve already tripped a few times in your life over a rolled up loose rug. Loose rugs like throw rugs can easily roll up and create a fall hazard.
Another “fall hazard” that many people overlook is their own pets. While we love our pets, they just seem to love getting right in front of our feet, don’t they?
The best way to save yourself (and your pet) from this hazardous behavior is to block your pet off from the main areas that you walk around in, such as the kitchen or the bathroom.
Consider attaching a collar with a bell to your pet as an extra “warning” that they are approaching your feet.
You can also reduce your pet’s behavior of following you around the house by training them and providing them with plenty of exercise and play.
Dogs are easier to train than cats, so it is especially important to give your cat enough interactive play time. This will reduce boredom, which is one of the main reasons why a pet will follow an owner all around the house.
Once you’re finished clearing the house of hazards and adjusting the lights (if needed), ask a trusted friend, family member, or professional to take a look for themselves to see if they catch anything that you’ve missed.
#2: Create a Slip-Free Bathroom
The bathroom is notorious as the room where the most dangerous falls occur. A slippery tub or tile floor can cause you to fall back and hit your head.
The combination of slippery, hard surfaces (including the hard surfaces that jut out, such as the toilet, countertop, or edge of the tub) makes the bathroom the most dangerous area in most homes.
Keep the bathroom floor dry and free of loose towels, objects, and clothing. Use no-slip mats in the shower and on the floor where water tends to collect.
Install bright lights and always turn them on when in the bathroom.
Guard rails are also one of the best ways to reduce your chance of falling in the bathroom. Add them in the shower and next to the toilet, so that you can use them to help you get in and out of the shower and down and up from the toilet.
If you do end up slipping, it is likely that you will instinctively grab the guard rail and avoid a serious fall.
#3: Wear the Right Footwear
We just love wearing our favorite pair of cozy socks or slippers around the house.
However, there are some cozy socks and slippers that are much better than others.
Look specifically for non-slip socks and slippers. They will have a textured surface on the bottom that grips indoor floors better.
Also look for hard, sturdy soles. These are usually much better at preventing slips than footwear that has softer, flexible soles.
When not in the house, avoid unsupportive shoes like flip flops, loose-fitting sandals, and high heels. Make sure your shoes fit you well.
There are plenty of stylish and comfortable shoes and sneakers designed as non-slip. Many of these have tucked in shoelaces or no shoelaces at all.
Look specifically for the APMA Seal of Acceptance when shopping for footwear. This seal is an indication that the footwear is designed to promote healthy feet.
A quick search for “non-slip shoes” online or a trip to a local footwear store that specializes in shoes that are healthy for the feet is an easy way to shop for shoes.
Not only will the right shoes prevent you from falling, but they can alleviate and prevent injuries and pain such as plantar fasciitis and joint pain.