Reduce Your Risk of Injury from a Slip or Fall
Make your home safer and reduce injuries.
According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips and falls are the most frequent household accidents leading to personal injury. Slips, trips and falls account for some 9 million emergency medical visits and nearly 6,000 deaths per year. Examples include head and back injuries, broken bones, cuts, lacerations and sprained muscles.
While those over 55 are more likely to be injured in a fall, an injury can happen to anyone. For people 65-84, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death. For those 85 or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths.
Here are a few changes you can make to your daily routine to minimize your risk of a fall:
- Exercise to build strength and balance.
- Be aware that some prescription and non-prescription medications (or combination) may cause dizziness.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Also, mixing alcohol with some medications is an invitation to trouble. Ask your pharmacist if alcohol will interact with any prescription or non-prescription medications you take.
- Install – and use – extra rails, grab bars and nonslip rubber mats inside and outside your shower.
- Always use stair railings. Have a second railing installed on the other side for a double handgrip.
- Always wear shoes or slippers with slip-resistant soles.
- When entering or exiting an automobile, use the vehicle for support.
- Check your eyes. If your eyeglass prescription is outdated, your depth perception and sense of focus might be off, which could result in a fall.
- Know where your pets are! People tripping over dogs and cats have more than 86,000 fall-related injuries each year.
- Never stand on a chair or table that has wheels. Use a stepstool or small step ladder.
- Use extra caution while going up and down stairs while wearing high heels or sandals.
Changes around your home
There are also many changes or modifications you can make in your home to reduce the risk of tripping or falling. For example:
- Secure electrical and phone cords so they don’t interfere with walkways.
- Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping.
- Remove clutter from stairs and walkways.
- Repair any damage to outdoor walkways and steps. A height change as little as one-quarter inch on a walking surface can cause a trip.
- Stay off freshly mopped floors.
- Ensure adequate lighting indoors and outdoors.
- Remove debris from exterior walkways, and make sure downspouts divert water from them.
- Remove throw rugs from the top or bottom of stairways.
- Routinely check stairs for loose or worn carpeting.
- Arrange furniture to provide easy pathways to walk through.
- Use absorbent mats in water-prone areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and entry ways. Make sure that mats lie flat and that the backing material will not slip or slide.
Don’t be part of a painful statistic. With some common sense and careful planning, you can reduce your chance of an injury from a slip, trip or fall.