Fall Prevention: Stay safe at home

A few fix-ups can help you stay put and stay independent.

There’s no place like home, especially if you want to stay safe and healthy while living there. Doing so can be as simple as giving your house a once-over to check for potential hazards. A few inexpensive—or even free—modifications will make your home safer and more comfortable for you, and head off debilitating accidents that could impair your lifestyle down the road.

Use this list to check for possible improvements to make around your home:

Fall Prevention

  • Install handrails on all stairways and steps.
  • Provide bright lighting in every room and on stairways.
  • Remove electrical and phone cords from pathways, along with any other clutter.
  • Tape small rugs to the floor or avoid using them altogether.
  • Install non-skid adhesive strips or mats in bathtubs and showers, and use non-skid mats on the bathroom floor.
  • If needed, install grab bars in the shower and around toilets.

Fall Prevention Basics

Anyone who has fallen knows it can be scary and sometimes painful. For the elderly, a fall is more than that: It can take away their ability to function on their own. It can even be deadly.

One in three older Americans falls each year, and every 18 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for falling-related injuries. The elderly and people with serious illnesses have certain risk factors for falling. Their eyesight, balance and strength aren’t as good as they once were. Their medications may make them weak or dizzy or blur their vision. Pain may cause them to move in an awkward or unsteady way.

But falls don’t have to happen. There are many things you can do to help prevent accidents. Small changes in the surroundings can make a huge difference.

Here’s a short list of potential safety hazards. Think of them as falls waiting to happen. Correct as many as you can. (Some fixes may require the work of a handyman.)

  • Lighting: Are hallways, stairs and other traffic areas well-lit? Replace any dim or burned-out bulbs. Use nightlights.
  • Pathways: Are traffic areas clear? Remove obstacles, including furniture, electrical cords, loose rugs and any clutter.
  • Handrails: Are there hand railings on both sides of stairways, and grab bars by the bathtub/shower and toilet?
  • Slippery areas: On stairs, use non-skid treads; mark edges with reflective tape. On smooth floors, use double-sided tape under area rugs; avoid waxes. In bathtubs, use non-skid strips.
  • Storage: Store often-used items at waist level.

Use caution if you have pets: House pets are a frequent cause of falls. Prod the floor before stepping down and gently nudge Fido or Princess Sophia Kitty out of the way.

Did you know? Older adults who’ve already had a fall are two to three times more likely to fall again within a year. Two-thirds of fall victims will fall again within six months.

Suffering from Persistent Knee or Hip Pain?

As a leading orthopedic surgeon in Eastern Idaho, Dr. David J. Peterson at Bingham Memorial’s Orthopedic Institute specializes in arthritis and minimally invasive joint replacement for the knee and hip. He is board certified in orthopedics and fellowship trained in knee and hip replacement.

Dr. Peterson sees patients in Pocatello, Blackfoot, and Idaho Falls. If you have questions about your knee or hip health, or are ready to find relief from constant knee or hip pain, call (208) 782-2999 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Peterson is one of the only doctors in the state of Idaho to use the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgical System for minimally invasive joint replacement procedures. The Mako system increases surgical precision, decreases hospitalization, and speeds up recovery times. The Mako system also improves surgical outcomes and quality of life while saving patients both time and money.

Learn more about the Mako system by visiting: BinghamMemorial.org/Mako

Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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