Tips for Preventing Falls at Home
Did you know that every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall? As we all spend more time at home, slips, trips and falls are more likely to occur. Check out our tips for preventing falls at home and staying active.
- Make your home accessible. Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking (especially if using a walker or a cane). If you have difficulty with balance or walking, add safe and sturdy grab bars or handrails throughout your walking path to ease navigation. If you have a cane or a walker, keep it nearby.
- Keep the floors clear of trip hazards. Remove clutter in your home, especially on the floor and around commonly walked paths, such as between your bed and bathroom. Eliminate rugs, if possible. If you wear socks or slippers around your house, make sure they have grips on the bottom to reduce slipping while walking.
- Use lighting in all rooms. Keep a flashlight close by when your room is dark. Increase bright lighting and the number of nightlights in your house, if necessary.
- Stay active. If possible, begin an exercise program to improve leg strength and balance. Becky Barnes, a physical therapist and clinical liaison at Bridgemoor Transitional Care, recommends performing the following exercises.
- Sit in a firm chair with arm rests (dining room chairs are good)
- Place the chair against a wall and have a seat
- Scoot your hips out to the edge of the chair
- Cross your arms over your chest, lean forward (nose over knees) and stand up
- Don't let the back of your knees touch the chair
- If you cannot stand up without using your arms to help, place a firm pillow on the seat and try again
- If you still need your arms to help, that is fine
Start with five repetitions of this exercise 1-2 times daily and progress to 10 repetitions 1-2 times daily. Test your progress by doing the 30-second sit-to-stand test and compare your results on the chart below. The goal is to stand without needing to use your hands and arms.