The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that the number one cause of death and injury for people age 65+ is accidental falls. In addition, 1 in 3 retirees (approximately 11 million people) fall each year and 60% of those falls occur inside the home.
Most of us would agree that we would like to stay in the comfort of our own home for as long as possible. Here are some tips to safely do so:
- Make sure often-used items are easily accessible. Conversely, remove unnecessary clutter from rooms and stairways to make a clear path for walking.
- Put handrails on both sides of all inside and outside stairways.
- Likewise, put grab bars in the shower, tub and close to the toilet. Use a chair in the shower and a raised toilet seat of necessary. Use non-slip strips in the shower and bathtub.
- Use non-slip carpets and rugs or make sure they are attached to the floor.
- Make sure all rooms are well lit. Replace light bulbs when needed. Place a lamp next to the bed and nightlights in hallways and bathrooms. Place a flashlight next to the bed in case of a power outage.
- Hire someone to remove snow and put salt on ice in the winter. In the summer, have someone mow and trim.
- Consider a personal emergency response system, especially if you live alone. Research shows that PERS reduce mortality rates by nearly four times and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization by 59%.1-5
These are a few important preventative measures that can go a long way in “fall proofing” a home. We know the importance of keeping you safe in your home. Remember home care services for check-ins or daily support with household activities – for safe, healthy living at home.
- Bernstein M. Low-tech personal emergency response systems reduce costs and improve outcomes. Manag Care Q. 2000; 8(1): 38-43.
- Sherwood S. Morris J. A study of the effects of an emergency alarm and response system for the aged: a final report. Grand No. HS01788, NCHSR 1981.
- Cain B. Effects of a Lifeline program on hospitalization. Long Beach California: California State Univeristy: Thesis.
- Dibner A. Effect of personal emergency response system on hospital use. Watertown, Massachusetts: Lifeline Systems, Inc. 1985.
- Koch W. Emergency response systems assist in discharge planning. Dimens Health Serv 1984; 61:30-31.