SENIORS HEALTH: Reduce injury risk by safeguarding home

Minor adjustments around the house can help prevent falls.

  • Jul. 29, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Ensuring your home is safe and clutter-free can help to prevent falls.

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.

Bedroom

• 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.

Kitchen

• 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.

Living Areas

• 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.

Bathroom

• 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 seniorshealthnetworksswr@gmail.com

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