Making Your Home Safe
Each year, one in three people over age 65 fall in their own homes, and the injuries sustained could be life-threatening. Broken bones and strokes are common results from household falls. Once an individual has fallen, they become scared they'll fall again, so they decrease movement out of fear of further injury. They rely on help to get up, to walk, to be situated. This reliance causes people to to have decreased range of motion, weakened muscles, and inactivity can further lead to pain. The best way to eliminate both the risk of falling as well as fear of falling again is to make your home a safe zone by eliminating potential hazards. Common culprits that pose threat are throw rugs, which can be slippery on a smooth surface like wood floors or tile, or curl up on the edges to increase your chance of tripping. Throw rugs should be removed completely to ensure safety on every surface of your home. Step stools in the kitchen or garage are also dangerous, not only can people fall off stools from a great height, they can trip over them if they're left in walkways. Cords from phones and electronics should be tucked away, and phones and other devices should be at a distance from a chair or bed where the individual can safely reach them without the risk of falling to retrieve. Wet floors in the entryway, bathrooms, and near the kitchen sink are also dangerous when wet, and should be areas of extreme caution. One of the best ways to highlight your home's potential hazards is to bring in outside evaluation in the form of a family member or healthcare associate as their unbiased views could point out the items you otherwise wouldn't consider dangerous. They might have recommendations on items that should be removed, like a well-loved rug or essential stool, that may upset you if you consider the items meaningful or necessary. It's important to realize it's all in the sake of preserving your safety and health. If you are injuried in your home, post-care can include both pain management and physical recovery, as well as an in-home evaluation to assess how further injury can be avoided. Areas like the toilet can be considered- adding raiser seats and grab bars and other like items make each aspect of your home safer, and to your benefit of continued health. Tune in as Nichole Roiko, Doctor of Physical Therapy, explains how you can ensure your home's safety.