Every 11 seconds in the United States, a senior citizen is treated in the hospital after experiencing a fall. Many of these falls result in a traumatic injury, such as a broken hip or brain damage. They can trigger a downward spiral into poor health. They can rob older adults of their independence.
What’s a senior to do? During September, Falls Prevention Awareness month, the first thing to do is simply to acknowledge that falling is a serious concern. It’s reckless to think that it can’t happen to you! Next, take action to make your environment safer. Here are eight effective ways to ensure you’re living in as safe a space as possible:
- Clear your walkways. Are there stacks of newspapers next to your favorite armchair? Have you left empty grocery bags on the kitchen floor? What’s cluttering up your hallway? Are there any electrical cords crossing your path? Remove piles of stuff and leave yourself plenty of room to get around without tripping.
- Secure all area rugs. It only takes a second to slip on loose carpeting. Install non-slip pads underneath area rugs to prevent bunching and slipping. Or, remove the rug completely and do without it.
- Lighten up the place. Eliminate dimly lit areas. Add lamps, overhead fixtures, or track lighting where needed.
- Hang on tight. Install grab bars in shower stalls and next to toilets. Add handrails to front steps or a second handrail to any staircases in your home.
- Avoid the stairs. Do as much living on one floor as possible.
- Move slowly and methodically; don’t rush around.
- Hem your clothing. Pants and skirts that drag along the ground are invitations to trip and fall.
- Protect your feet. You’re less likely to slip and fall when you walk around the house with shoes on.
Don’t forget the importance of keeping your feet in top shape. For expert advice about the best shoes for your aging feet, and to fix any foot problems that may be affecting your balance, contact expert podiatrists Craig B. Frey, DPM, and Megan L. Oltmann, DPM at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. We welcome senior citizens from Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties to visit our state-of-the-art office for all their foot care needs. Call us in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.