Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather shifts from being scorching hot to being nice and temperate, the trees and bushes evolve into a variety of stunning colors, and the nights are crisp and cool – the perfect excuse for an outdoor fire. Oh, and best of all…it’s football season (Go Redskins!). Although the fall is a spectacular time of year, falling is anything but enjoyable. All too often senior citizens are plagued by injuries due to falls. Seniors can fall for a variety of reasons, but some are truly quite avoidable. We have attempted to uncover the reasons for these traumatic falls and how we can all stay safe “fall” season!
Around The house and neighborhood: Did you know that falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths in those 75 years and older? The majority of these falls take place within the home or within close proximity. Below are some ways in which you can improve your safety within your home:
1) Bathroom: The bathroom…it likes to play dirty. Your bathroom is full of obstacles that are entirely conducive to making you fall. We shall start with your tub/shower. Most bathroom floors are a solid white, which blend in with the foundation of your tub making it hard to see. Have a contractor color contrast these multiple surfaces to help you visually see the transitions better. The shower/tub dangers don’t stop there. Make sure to install strong grab handles and no-slip shower mats within your shower and tub. Also, if you can swing it, have a stand up shower installed to replace your tub to remove the dangerous height-factor that lies in traversing the ledge of a common bath tub.
2) The Kitchen: Little changes can go a long way here when it comes to making your kitchen as safe as possible. Make sure to put all food items and utensils in drawers and on shelves that are within a normal reach. Only use small step stools for leverage or explore other “reaching” aids that can be found through a variety of Keeping a clean kitchen is good for more than just your home aesthetics. Ensure that all spills are properly cleaned as to avoid slipping on any grease, water, or other common kitchen liquids.
3) Outdoors: Enjoying the cool and soothing fall weather is one of the highlights of the season, but traversing the outdoors poses many possible threats to senior safety. Make sure to try and always walk with a partner if possible. This person may be the key to getting you help and saving your life in case of an unfortunate fall. Try to learn your limits and how not to push past them. Although running or hiking may sound like fun, it is not worth rising your ongoing health to do so. There are many other senior friendly outdoor activities, which you can find here. Your outdoor gear is also an essential piece when it comes to ensuring senior safety. There is no substitue for appropriate shoes, walkers, canes, and emergency call devices.
4) The Stairs: The biggest obstacle in the home? Maybe. First, make sure light switches are installed at both the top and the bottom of the stairs to ensure adequate lighting when going up and down stairways. Ensure that all carpet is securely adhered to the stairs as to not move under your foot as you step. Have a contractor come inspect all railings and floorboards to see that everything is secure and in place. If you do not already, have said contractor install hand rails on both sides to provide maximum support.
Stay safe this autumn…and avoid the FALL :)