All of us regardless of age, are at risk of injury every day just by getting out of bed. Injuries often happen because of our own carelessness or that of others, defective equipment, neglect of public or private property or even the weather. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to injury, often from falling. Current statics show that 55 percent of all unintentional injury deaths among adults aged 65 and over were due to falls. While we can’t prevent every trip or fall there rethinks we can do to prevent many of them.
Exercise! People who do weight-bearing or even seated exercise have better balance and stability than those who are sedentary. Keep your home well lit, including a motion detecting nightlight so that you can see where you are walking when you get up at night. Make sure all stairways have secure, easy to grip handrails. If stairs are not carpeted have grip tape or traction tape installed on each stair tread. If you use a cane or walker, make sure it is in good shape and fits your height. An occupational therapists can help select and size devices as well as make recommendations if your are struggling with daily activities like bathing, dressing and transferring. Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes with low heels and good tread. Keep laces tied securely or consider velcro straps. Avoid open-back shoes because of their insecure fit. Take care of your vision. If you wear glasses, ensure your prescription is current and your glasses are clean. Always wear your glasses when moving about. Remove clutter and extension cords that could cause a trip and fall when moving through a room. Make sure to arrange furniture to provide a clear path from room to room. Keep a lamp or other light source near your bedside and be sure to turn on the light as you get out of bed for any reason. Throw rugs are trip hazards that you do not need. Use a non-skid bath mat in your tub or shower. Avoid ladders. If necessary install and emergency alert system and wear the necklace or bracelet at all times.
If you do have a fall your doctor might suggest that an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or a nurse visit your home. These health care providers can assess your home’s safety and advise you about making additional changes to prevent falls.