Falling is a concern of older adults because the repercussions that follow a fall are often serious. It is important to prepare yourself and your surroundings to reduce the chance of falling. Many times a fall happens in an individual’s home due to hazards that can be easily fixed. Take the following checklist around your home to verify that it is hazard-free. The checklist asks questions about potential hazards and then gives you solutions to fix them.
When you walk through the rooms in your apartment, do you have to walk around any furniture, rugs, shoes, books, boxes, towels, magazines, etc? Pick up anything that is lying on the floor. Ask a friend, family member, or maintenance worker to help you move any furniture that is in your line of walking.
Do you have to walk over any wires or cords? Tape or coil the cords to the wall or have another outlet added to your wall.
Are the items you use frequently on high shelves? Move the items that you use the most to a lower, more accessible shelf.
Is your bathtub floor slippery? Place a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the bathtub.
Is the path from your bedroom to your bathroom dark? Put a lamp next to your bed or use a night light.
Do you use small area rugs in your bathroom or kitchen? Look for rugs with no-slip coatings underneath to minimize the risk of a slip.
The following questions address potential falling hazards about your own body. Evaluate yourself.
- Do you participate in regular exercise? Regular exercise helps improve muscular strength, balance, and coordination, all of which are factors in decreasing falls.
- Have you been to the eye doctor recently? Have your vision checked regularly because poor vision can result in a fall.
- Do you wear shoes inside your apartment? Rather than wearing slippers or bare feet, wearing supportive shoes inside and outside of the home is the safest option.
- Do you get up slowly after sitting or lying? It is important to take your time when standing up from a sitting or lying position. Move slowly to give your blood time to re-circulate.
- Do you use the emergency bracelet/pendant and know how it works? Wear the emergency bracelet/pendant while in your apartment. Remember that you must press the button for a couple seconds before it alerts Home Care that there is an emergency. Also know that if you wear the bracelet outside of the apartment and press the button, Home Care will only be alerted that there is help needed in your apartment. There are watches in both pool areas, the cardio room and the group fitness room.
References: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Check for Safety. CDC.gov. Retrieved September 13, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/pubs/english/booklet_Eng_desktop-a pdf.