The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to a health-care professional.
Fabio Feldman, injury prevention program manager at Fraser Health, was asked:
I’m 86 years old and I live alone. A few weeks ago I had a bad fall in the night and was fortunate not to break anything. How should I make my house safer so I won’t fall again?
Feldman references Your Guide to Independent Living – Make your home safer, published by Fraser Health:
Stairs and Steps
• Have light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Make sure the stairs are well-lit.
• Check that your stairs are in good repair, are free of clutter and have a non-skid surface.
• Mark the edges of the steps with contrasting coloured non-skid tape or paint.
• Make sure there are sturdy handrails on at least one side of all stairways.
• Remove your reading glasses when you go up and down the stairs.
• Never rush up or down the stairs.
• Have a light within reach of your bed. Consider a flashlight or a lamp with a ‘clap-on’ adaptor.
• Beds should be at a good height for easy movement on and off. Firmer mattresses will make getting in and out easier.
• Have a cordless phone by your bed.
• Make sure there is a clear path from your bed to the bathroom.
• Keep your bedding clear of the floor so it is not a tripping hazard.
• Keep your walking aid handy and within easy reach of the bed.
• Sit on the edge of your bed for a minute before getting up after a rest.
• Place frequently used items in easy-to-reach locations. Store heavier items in lower cupboards.
• Avoid use of floor wax, or use a non-skid wax.
• Always wipe up any spills immediately to avoid slipping.
• Make sure all walking areas are clear of telephone or electrical cords.
• Position your furniture accordingly to keep pathways clear to and from areas that you need access to.
• Have a cordless telephone within easy reach.
• Use slip-resistant mats around the shower and bath. Use paint-on or self-adhesive slip-resistant strips in the shower and bath.
• Soap, shampoo, and towels should be placed within easy reach so that you don’t have to bend or reach for them.
• Have grab bars installed around the bath, shower, and toilet.
• If you have trouble getting on and off the toilet seat, consider an elevated toilet seat.
• Consider using a bath seat so you can take a shower or bath sitting down.
The South Surrey White Rock Seniors Health Network is a coalition of seniors service providers funded by the Peace Arch Hospital & Community Health Foundation, and working under the auspices of the Mayor of White Rock’s office. If you have a question for publication, email firstname.lastname@example.org