Physio & Therapies column - How to make your home safer to avoid a fall

Advice on how to minimise the risk of a fall
Advice on how to minimise the risk of a fall

Falls are a serious matter for older adults. They can cause significant injury and even death.

Considering that one in three adults will experience a serious fall in their lifetime, it is not surprising that falls are the leading cause of hospitalisation among people aged 65 and over.

But there are many ways to avoid a fall and you can help to make your home safer and find healthcare professionals who specialise in falls and fall prevention, helping you to decrease your risk for falling.

There are things you can do to prevent falls.

Many people think that falls are a part of old age and there is little they can do to prevent them.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact there are many things you can do to prevent falls in your home including the following:

Wear proper footwear. Your shoes should be well fitting with flat non slip soles and preferably with some ankle support.

Avoid using multifocal glasses while walking, especially on stairs.

Install and use nightlights in the bedroom, hallway and bathroom.

Remove rugs or secure the edges to the floor.

Arrange furniture so there is a clear path to all well travelled areas of your home.

Have yearly check-ups with your GP or practice nurse who can assess any physical or mental issues that could contribute to a fall.

Take up exercise that promotes balance and strength such as Yoga or Tai Chi.

Install a non-slip rubber mat in the bath and shower.

Keep stairways and floors free of clutter and avoid trailing electrical cords or phone wires.

Use a cordless phone.

Maintain good health by eating regular well balance meals.

Take medications properly and be aware of their side effects.

Have your vision and hearing checked regularly and wear glasses or hearing aids as required.

Have grab rails installed and avoid using towel racks, soap dishes and other handholds that are not meant to support body weight.

Get help to do jobs that you can’t easily manage, especially if they involve standing on a ladder or stool.

Take care of your feet by trimming toenails regularly, using moisturiser and seeing a GP or Chiropodist about any foot problems

Avoid wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up.