Falls are the leading cause of death when it comes to home accidents. The elderly are most affected by this type of accident - when an elderly person falls, the associated problems are far more serious. Hip fractures, in particular for those aged 75 and over, can lead to long-term care needs and serious mobility issues.
To minimize the risk, follow these tips to stay safer:
In general: Pick up toys and trip hazards – remove unnecessary clutter. Make sure lighting is adequate in all areas. Secure cables and cords out of walkways. Have entrance mats for wet weather conditions. Close cabinet and drawer drawers. Replace worn, wrinkled carpeting. Clean up spills right away.
Staircases: Keep children safe from falling down step by installing safety gates at both the bottom and top of staircases. Make sure the handrails are solid and well maintained. Install a non-slip step tread to help keep footing secure.
Bathrooms: Everyone is susceptible to falls in the bathroom due to slippery wet surfaces. Install a self-adhesive bath mat in the tub or shower to help improve footing while bathing. Use a mat or towel on the floor when getting out of the bath or shower to catch excess water. Install grab bars for elderly to aid in access both in and out of the tub. Popular safety items also include shower chairs and higher toilet seats.
Slip, trip and fall injuries can also result from inattention and distractions such as carrying items, using a cell phone, having a discussion or listening to music. Contributing factors also include physical characteristics such as a person’s age, gait, and disabilities. These factors are harder to control than physical hazards, but can be minimized with the tips from above.