According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults in the country. Approximately, 20 to 30% of seniors experience one or more falls each year and are the cause of 85% of senior injury-related hospitalizations.
Falls can happen at any age but our risk of falling becomes greater as we get older. This may be due to poor balance, decreased muscle and bone strength, reduced vision or hearing, or any unsafe conditions in and around your home. The good news is that falls can be prevented.
Here are a few tips to consider to protect your loved ones and yourselves from any slips and falls while in your home or outdoors.
One of the most common areas for slips and falls are in the bathroom.
To prevent any slips and falls, ensure that you have non slip surfaces in the tub or shower. You may also install grab bars by the toilet and the bath to help you or your loved ones sit or stand while bathing or toileting.
Other areas in the home where slips and falls may take place are the living room, bedrooms, and kitchen. This may be due to bulkier furniture, cords or cables, carpets/area rugs, and improper lighting. To protect yourselves and your loved ones, reduce the amount of objects, tripping hazards, and clutter in those areas. Make sure that the common walking paths in those rooms are clear and spacious enough for walking alone, with assistance, or with a walker.
Stairs, of course, are one of the most common reasons why trips and falls take place, so make sure your stairs are well lit, have solid handrails, and never rush up or down stairs.
Another area where slips and falls may take place is in the outdoors. This may occur while taking a walk around your property, in a local park, or in public spaces like shopping centers. To ensure your safety, keep front steps and walkways in good repair and free of any snow, ice, or leaves.
Entrances and walkways should be well lit and reduce the amount of tripping hazards in the area, such as gardening tools, toys, and small rocks or branches.
Preventing falls requires patience, but by making the needed adjustments in and around your home and by using whatever devices that will facilitate your daily life while keeping you safe, you and those you love can live a healthy and active lifestyle.
For more information on Senior Health & Safety, check out the Ontario Government’s site and affiliated links here.