Avoiding Falls

Each year in America one in three adults over the age of sixty five falls. That is a staggering statistic! Granted, many of these falls don’t result in permanent injury, but many of them do. Falls are the leading cause of injury death, traumatic brain injury, and fractures in older adults. In many cases, a fall is the event that leads to an older person losing the ability to live independently. Here at Housing Matters, I am a strong proponent of helping people live independently in their homes as long as possible. Often when someone falls, their fear of falling again will prevent them from doing the things they enjoy, can reduce their flexibility and mobility, and can actually lead to another fall! What kinds of things can we do to prevent falls?

The first thing I recommend is to take a walk through your home. If you can get a family member or caregiver to go with you, it will help by giving you another set of eyes. They may notice things that you might not recognize as being a potential fall hazard.  Look for anything that might contribute to a fall. Are there loose throw rugs anywhere? Are there trailing extensions cords in areas where you walk? Does the furniture placement leave plenty of room to get around? Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairs and walkways? Is the lighting bright, yet glare free? Are there grab bars, particularly in the bathroom?

After you go through the house looking for problems, let’s put our heads together and come up with some solutions. Call Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. at (540) 384-2064 and we would be glad to provide common sense solutions for safety and fall prevention. If there are loose throw rugs, trailing extension cords, or the furniture placement creates narrow, unsafe walkways, it is a simple matter to clean up or rearrange. You might be surprised, however, to see how simple and effective making some of the other changes can be. Stairs are an area where falls often occur. I strongly recommend sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairs, non slip strips on the treads, contrasting colors on the treads and risers, and bright, glare free lighting with switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Of course, you can also install a stair lift. Handrails can also be installed down hallways or anywhere in the house. If you have concerns about your balance, continuous handrails throughout the house can provide a constant handhold. Grab bars serve the same function and are available in an almost endless assortment of sizes, types, materials, colors, and textures. I often hear people say they don’t need grab bars “yet”. The time to install handrails and grab bars is precisely before you need them. If the grab bars are installed, you get in the habit of reaching for them and instinctively reach for them if you start to fall. If you wait until you are “ready” for them, those habits will not be formed. You may not instinctively reach for the grab bar if it hasn’t been installed very long. The bottom line is, be proactive. Take the time now to get your home modification projects done so that you may enjoy a long and safe life in your own home.

How can I help you with these or any other home modification projects? Please give me a call at (540) 384-2064 or email me at cmoore@solidrockenterprises.com. It would be my pleasure to help you make your home a “Home for a Lifetime”. Thank you for reading Housing Matters.