Did you know that slips and falls account for more than half of all injuries among Canadians over the age of 65? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, one-third of seniors experience one fall each year –half of those will fall more than once.
In our youth, a fall usually results in an unsightly bruise or maybe a sprain at most. However, it’s a whole other story as we age – one that all-too-often ends without a happy ending. The chance of dying from a fall-related injury increases as we get older; 20 percent of deaths related to injury can be traced back to a fall. While visions of a slippery sidewalk or a spill down a grocery store aisle may come to mind when you think of potential hazards, nearly half of all injuries among seniors occur in their own homes.
Now this revelation doesn’t mean you should fear your home; rather, it’s meant to open up your eyes so you can identify any safety concerns and minimize the risk of injuring yourself – or worse.
If you’re not sure where to look for potential spots in your home you could slip– that’s okay. Here are 5 easy tips that can help you reduce the risk of falling in your own home.
The bathroom is a particularly hazardous room in your home, due to the increased risk of stumbling, tripping or slipping on a slippery surface. In fact, more falls occur in the bathroom than in any room in the house.
1. Invest in a Walk-In Bathtub or Shower
The Center for Disease Control notes that two-thirds of bathroom injuries occur near a tub or shower, stepping over the tub wall, slipping on wet floors or leaning on glass doors that are not meant to support weight. Despite these frightening statistics, you can enjoy a relaxing bubble bath or a long hot shower without worry by investing in a walk-in bathtub or shower. Both are designed with you in mind, focussing on convenience, comfort and safety, so you can shower or bath without worry.
2. Option For a Raised Toilet Seat
If you have difficulty sitting down, or getting up from the toilet, a raised toilet seat is an excellent option worth considering. Most risers attach to your toilet, come in multiple heights with or without arms and have locking options to accommodate all needs.
While it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the stairs in your home can be dangerous, you may not know that most falls on the stairs can be prevented. There are even health benefits for seniors who use the stairs– stair climbing can increase leg power, which is vital in helping the elderly reduce the risk of injury from falls, according to Health Canada’s Stairway to Health Program.
3. Get a Physical
According the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, there are a handful of health factors that can be a contributing factor to any stair-related fall, including eyesight problems, frailty, drowsiness, loss of balance and an inactive lifestyle. If you suffer from any of the aforementioned ailments, it’s important to mention it to your doctor. Something as simple as a stronger pair of glasses or a change in medication can make your stairs safe once again.
While it can be difficult for seniors with mobility issues to keep their front steps and walkway free of snow, ice and leaves, it’s a job that must be done. The last thing you want is to slip on black ice and lose your balance with an arm full of groceries that prevent you from breaking your fall.
4. Ask for a helping hand
If you are unable to shovel or salt your walkway, consider asking a friend, family member or neighbour to take over the task. There’s probably even a youngster in your neighbourhood who would be happy to take the job on for a small fee.
The right planning and simple strategies can help everyone prevent falls and injuries. With these five tips in mind, you’ll be able to relax and stay safe in your home-sweet-home for many years to come. Don’t become another statistic – take the necessary precautions as soon as possible.
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