How to Fall-Proof Your Home For Aging Relatives

Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors in North America, but is also the most preventable. Dr. Danielle Martin demonstrates how to make the inside of your home a safer place for you and your loved ones.

Senior couple with walker smiling on sofa with wine
Photo Credit: iStock.com

Approximately one in three seniors fall per year, with 20 per cent resulting in an emergency department visit because of broken bones, bruises or head injury.

And while many people aren't aware of the easy steps that can be taken to avoid falls, falls can be prevented. In fact, falls are the most preventable risk to health among seniors. Since most falls occur at home — especially in the kitchen, on the stairs and in the bathroom — there are some simple steps you can take to help eliminate those higher-risk locations.

Kitchen

  • Store dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach. 
  • Use a stable step stool with a safety rail.
  • Wipe up any spills immediately to prevent slipping.
  • When cooking on the stove, always turn the pot handles towards the back and away from the edge of the stove.

Living Room

  • Remove electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape or remove loose rugs from your home.
  • Ensure your space is brightly lit. Place nightlights in your staircase and hallways.
  • Don't put things on the stairs.

Bathroom

  • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
  • Grab bars for the shower or tub
  • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub, plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.
  • Speak to a doctor about medicines that may increase the risk of falls such as sleeping pills, sedating antihistamines and some antidepressants.

 

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