One in three Americans, over the age of 65, fall each year. 50% of these falls happen in the home with 33% resulting in hospitalization.* 85% of people over the age of 75 still live at home.
The concern then becomes, how safe are you in your home? And what are some of the hidden dangers that can send you to the emergency room and threaten your freedom and independence?
Multi- Floor Dwellings:
Risk: Navigating several stairs, particularly if you are unsteady or have some mobility issues, can increase the risk of falling. Even missing one step can result in a substantial injury.
Solution: Be sure that handrails are securely in place on the wall and lighting is ample. Getting a medical alert system can help keep you protected if you do sustain a fall and need emergency help.
Risk: The highest percentage of falls at home happen in the bathtub, shower or bathroom.* This can be due to wet surfaces, in and around the tub or shower, compromised balance getting in and out of the shower or lifting oneself off the toilet.
Solution: Be sure there are safety hand bars and non-slip mats in the shower or bathtub and by the toilet, if necessary. It can also be quite helpful to have a medical alert emergency system because even if you are in the shower or tub, the waterproof medical alert bracelets will keep you safe.
Rugs and Furniture:
Risk: Unsecured throw rugs, bulging carpets and furniture that impedes clear walk ways within your home, increase the risk of falling, hitting your head or sustaining some type of fracture. Any freestanding light fixtures with electrical cords (including phone cords) can also be a tripping hazard.
Solution: If you have throw rugs, make sure they are in a place so you will not trip on the edges. Be conscious of any bulging rugs and have them fixed. Be sure that all cords are securely fastened against a wall or behind furniture. Get help in shifting furniture that hampers a clear walkway. If you live alone, having an automatic fall detection button can help if you fall and cannot press your button.
Risks: Steps leading to the outside can cause potential risks especially if it is dark, wet or slippery due to ice or snow.
Solution: Whether you are going out to the driveway to get the newspaper, going for a walk, or out in the car, you can do so safely by being aware of any uneven steps, missing concrete or pavers. Make sure the outside lights cast enough light when it’s dark so you can keep the proper footing. Be sure to have someone properly salt your steps if there is ice and snow. Mobile medical alert systems can help safeguard you if you are out of your home and an emergency does occur.