- 20-30% of seniors experience at least one fall each year
- 95% of all hip fractures are due to a fall
- 50% of all falls causing hospitalization happen at home
Falls can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility, loss of independence and even death.
Anyone can fall. But as we age, our risk of falling becomes greater. That’s the bad news. The good news is that falls can be prevented. The first step to avoiding falls is to understand what causes them. For example, poor balance, decreased muscle and bone strength, reduced vision or hearing, and unsafe conditions in and around your home can increase your chance of falling. Staying safe and on your feet is a matter of taking some precautions to protect yourself. You can prevent falls by making adjustments to your home and lifestyle, and by making sure you eat well, stay fit, and by using whatever devices can help keep you safe.
- Use safety grab bars in your tub and shower. Do not hold the handle on the soap dish or a towel rack as they can break.
- Use a non-slip mat inside and outside your tub or shower. Replace them if they do not stick.
- Keep a cordless phone or cell phone close to you especially when showering or bathing.
- Keep your toilet paper roll within easy reach.
- Have handrails on both sides of your stairways and check that they are secure. Always turn on the lights. When carrying things, keep one hand free to hold onto the handrail.
- Clear pathways of furniture, cords and clutter and keep them well lit.
- If it is hard to get out of your chair, put an extra cushion on it or use a chair with armrests. Strengthening your leg muscles can also make it easier to get up.
- Remove scatter mats and area rugs or tape down the edges. It is easy to catch your toes on the edge and trip.
- Look out for things that can cause you to trip, such as pets, hoses and rakes, door thresholds and buckled carpet.
- There are some items that you can purchase or borrow to help you do things by yourself. These include a seat for your bathtub or shower, a bar beside your bed and an emergency medical alert system.
What if you take a tumble and find yourself on the floor? This handy visual guide gives you step-by-step instructions to right yourself: FB-How-to-Get-Up-2017-English
For more information on fall prevention, and resources like these, go to http://fallpreventionmonth.ca/toolkit/information-for-older-adults-and-caregivers