Fall-Proof Your Home
We have friends that work in hospitals on orthopedic medical-surgical floors. They deal with a lot of patients that have fallen; especially in the winter because of ice. Patients also fall by slipping in the bathroom or tripping over rugs in the kitchen and living room. A fall can sometimes cause a brain bleed and be fatal, but more often it leads to broken bones or pulled muscles. Once this happens, activity and mobility go down and health can decline rapidly.
This is long-term planning, but we can fall-proof our homes. For instance, make sure the stairs and floor are slip-resistant. Check to see if carpets and rugs are not too high above the regular floor, because they are easier to trip over and cause falls. Keep hallways, stairwells, and entrances lit. We can use nightlights to help you see when you have to use the bathroom in dark.
A person can try to avoid situations where they have to get on a ladder for any reason. For instance, storing items in high closets, light fixtures in cathedral or vaulted ceilings, or high windows and gutters that need cleaned. For the long-term, consider having your laundry on the main floor, so that you’re not climbing down the stairs or going up the stairs with your laundry basket in your hands.
Additionally, consider the floor covering on your stairs and in the entrances. We have a situation in our house where there is slick linoleum on the stairs. Our feet are wet from the rain or snow, and we think or say, “Be careful, the stairs are slick.” A longer-term situation would be to change the linoleum to carpet. We want to make sure our floor coverings support us during all seasons because we don’t want to fall. In your bathrooms one can have grab bars, so that you can get up and down and in and out. Probably not a consideration for young people, but this is something to think about in long-term planning. And, as a young person, I have fallen and luckily was not injured. It is a consideration for people at all stages of life.