There is no better time than National Safe at Home Week in August to consider how mobility aids can help keep you safer at home. It is reported that the leading cause of fatalities in the home are due to slip and fall accidents; this should be of concern to all, but primarily seniors who may be at a greater risk of a fall than other demographics. Consider ways that will prevent falls- and other dangerous mishaps- and stay safe.
This August, observe National Safe at Home Week. One way that you might choose to honor this day is by being proactive in preventing situations at home that could be safety issues. Experts report that the number one cause of accidental fatalities in the home among kids is poisoning; for adults, it is due to injuries sustained in slips and falls.
Make this year one that is safer for everyone in the home. Take a closer look around to detect and address any potential risks, while also brainstorming solutions and strategies, like mobility aids, to help you stay safer at home.
Facts About Falls
A fall can have devastating consequences for anyone- but perhaps most at-risk are seniors. It is estimated that among those over age 65, one in three will experience a fall-related injury. Falls are the leading cause of injury- both fatal and non- among this age group. Falls cause and contribute to bone breaks, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and practically all hip fractures occurring among adults in this country.
Did you know that women are most at risk of taking a nasty fall? Men are half as prone to breaking a bone from a fall, too.
Common Causes of Falls
So, what is causing folks to fall down? There are many reasons why you- or someone you love- may take a nasty fall, including these culprits:
- Icy or slick conditions underfoot
- Decline in vision or difficulty seeing
- Medication side-effects, i.e. drowsiness
- Hazards in the home, like steps, loose flooring, or clutter
- Poor lighting
- Loss of balance or flexibility due to age or medical condition
- Fear of falling again
- Low Blood pressure
The important thing to remember is that all injuries do not manifest right away. If you have fallen, see a medical provider regardless of if you are seriously hurt.
How will you stop yourself from taking a nasty fall and possibly becoming injured? The best approach is to look around the home and identify risks- then work on fall prevention strategies, including these:
- Have an annual eye exam to ensure prescription- if applicable- is accurate and adequate.
- Ask your physician for a medication review to make sure you are not suffering from an interaction or increased risk danger.
- Add grab bars, seats, railings, and supports as needed throughout the home. Consider mobility aids and equipment that can increase accessibility while reducing risk of a fall.
- Enhance home lighting.
- Have a medical check-up and request an osteoporosis screening.
- Take Vitamin D and calcium supplements to ensure your bones are strong and not brittle. Always discuss these options with a doctor before taking supplements.
- Increase flexibility and mobility with regular activity and exercise.
- Remove clutter and clean up your home environment to remove any tripping hazards.
Make sure to focus some attention on inherently hazardous spots, like stairways. Add light switches at the top and bottom to ensure adequate lighting at night. Also, install nightlights anywhere that you could use a bit of illumination.
Home Safety Suggestions
Falls are unfortunately not the only danger that lurks in the home environment. Consider the following home safety suggestions to keep the whole family safe from a bevy and bunch of often-overlooked hazards.
- Keep toxic products, like medications or cleaning agents, out of reach of kids and pets. Consider locking the cabinet and storing up-high.
- Cover up and conceal outlets and switches from kids. Use outlet covers whenever possible.
- Secure rugs and runners to the floor with tape for added stability.
- Do not wear slippery socks on linoleum, hardwood, or other slippery surface- including on stairways!
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
- Test and replace the batteries in smoke detectors throughout the home. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, too.
- Use a surge protector and power strip to avoid overloading outlets and circuits.
- Enhance outdoor lighting to deter theft and crime.
Consider investing in a home security system- even a simple one. The newer surveillance doorbell systems are inexpensive, easy-to-operate, and effective at monitoring your home and property from a laptop or smartphone.
Create a safer home environment with these tips now and prevent a nasty fall later. For mobility aids and equipment, talk to the industry professionals at Pacific Mobility today.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)