A friend of mine fell over her lovable little dog and badly fractured her arm and wrist. Another friend fell in her apartment and literally broke her neck and now she will be in rehab for a long while, unable to live alone again.
Statistically one of the biggest safety risks are people over 65 who fall causing severe injury and even death. Can you prevent falling? Not always, your pet could get underfoot and of course an icy winter can hold many potential fall risks. But there are things that can be done to lower the risk for a life-changing fall.
How many of us have tried to come down the steps in the semi-dark or carrying something bulky? Sure enough you either miss the last step or think there should be an extra step so you end up doing a little hop and losing your balance. Hopefully, this does not cause an injury but if you are older it certainly can, and preventing that is so easy. One thing I have learned from working with seniors is to always use the stair railing. Is this necessary? No not always and it does make the climb slower but I do it to insure that I have a little backup if I slip on the stair. And if I cannot hold onto a railing because the item I am carrying is too bulky, I wait until someone is home to help me or I make two trips. Nightlights and very specific lighting is important. Even if you think that you know your house like the back of your hand the unlit stairway can be very treacherous. Use the lights or get more installed. It is an easy fix for what could prove to be dangerous.
When I was taking care of my sister after she broke her hip (she fell off of her horse; a natural hazard of the sport). I thought I had made the area she would be using very safe. But when the Physical Therapist came in she was rolling up rugs, and moving furniture and picking up anything decorative from the floor. I did not realize that having an ottoman by the chair and the sharp edged coffee table in the middle would be a potential hazard for my sister while she was using her walker, but they were.
I learned quickly and now if I am with an elderly person I can point out the hazards quickly. When I was a young Mom it was second nature to scan a room to see what danger was there for my inquisitive toddler. Now, I can do the same for the seniors in my life. Scan your room. Is it safe to maneuver in?
If not maybe you can change some things. It could be the difference between a life changing accident and continued mobility. And it is a good idea in my mind to stay off of horses. But my sister did not. As soon as she mended she was back in the saddle.
If you are interested in other ways to fall proof your house please click here