My mom is 82. Now whatever picture you may have of what 82 means, you may not be picturing my mom. She is active and spry and pretty much can run circles around the rest of us. That being said, she did just have major back surgery and now for the first time, we have to be concerned about her risk of falling. She will be in a back brace for the next 4 months that helps prevent her from bending or twisting and we have to do our part to make sure that she’s in as safe an environment as possible.
Did you know that one in every three adults age 65 and older falls each year in the United States? And falls are by far the leading unintentional injury accounting for more than 8.7 million emergency room visits each year in the United States. (CDC and Injury Facts)
So what can you do to reduce your risk of falling (and that of your family members)? Here are some simple tips:
- Wear sensible shoes. Yes it is possible to find pretty shoes that are sensible. It might just take a little extra work.
- Keep floors and especially the stairs clear of clutter and debris. I know it’s handy to sit stuff on the stairs to take up with you later on, but that can be an accident waiting to happen.
- Clean up spills right when they happen. You don’t want to create a slippery surface that you or someone else might slide on. If you’re like me and you have an ice dispenser, be sure to look out for those runaway pieces of ice that might fall on the floor as you use it.
- Make sure you have handrails on all stairways and grab bars in the bathroom.
- Stand on a sturdy step stool when you need to reach something – not a chair, table, or surface with wheels.
- If you need throw rugs (for example in the bathroom), make sure they are of the non-skid type. Put a bathmat or non-slip strips in the tub.
- Make sure you have good lighting both inside and outside your home.
- Use extra care when sleepy or on medications.
- Have your vision checked.
- Be sure all electrical cords are secured out of traffic paths.
- When arranging your furniture, make sure it is not cramped and that you have enough space to get through easily and safely.