The most common falls in the home and how to avoid them.
It’s only natural that you’re most likely to fall where you spend the most time — your home. After falling off ladders and slipping in the bathroom, falling down stairs accounts for the most injuries suffered at home. With the news of Ivana Trump’s devastating accidental death, it is time to remind everyone of a few simple, but very important practices to follow to avoid the most common falls in the home.
When we’re younger our bodies basically bounce back from minor slips and falls, but unfortunately break or tear as we get older. As we age, our bodies become less resilient, our gait changes, we shuffle our feet more, and we become more prone to accidents and falls in the home or anywhere we spend a lot of time.
Ladders, Outdoor Activities, and Bathrooms are Common Culprits of Falls
One of the most common reasons I see men over the age of 65 is after a fall off a ladder, and this includes step stools. Ladders move and shift, and so do our bodies as we climb up and down them. Falling off ladders or during outdoor activities, and slipping in wet weather are so common that it's highly recommended that you always have a spotter, or buddy, with you.
When you’re doing outdoor activities, like getting on and off a boat your chance of slipping greatly increases. So, make sure to know your surroundings, especially if you have small pets or children with you, as anything around your feet becomes an opportunity to become a hazard and creates an increased fall risk.
In wet and icy weather conditions take extra caution and stay indoors when possible. Make sure you always take off your outdoor footwear and wear your inside shoes. Walking in icy weather is always dangerous and should be avoided at all times — for everyone including your pets. If you do have to brave the elements, be sure to wear shoes with proper tread or try adding traction cleats to your shoes (Yaktrax is a good option).
We spend most of our time in the bathroom alone so we should make sure to be extra careful when moving around. Make sure to use a gripped mat in the bottom of your bathtub, as well as grab bars in the shower and tub.
Jennifer’s Top Tips to Avoid Falls in Your Home
Not all falls happen when you’re working outside or in bad weather, they happen when you’re going about your normal everyday activities. The Mayo Clinic article, Fall prevention: Simple tips to prevent falls, goes into detail about these tips to keep in mind at all times.
- Never wear just socks (unless they have non slip grips on them). Always wear shoes, or go barefoot.
- Never wear wet or heeled shoes indoors. Always wear your “indoor” shoes.
- Never wear slip-ons. Always wear shoes that have a back and a grippy bottom.
- Never carry things in both hands going up or down the stairs. Always use the stair rail.
- Never clutter the stairs with clothes or other debris. Always have a tread on your stairs.
- Never risk an injury in the dark. Always use a night light, and have good lighting in stairwells.
- Never walk in icy conditions. Always stay indoors in bad weather.
- Never use a ladder after 65. Always have a buddy with you no matter your age.
It is important that we take our safety at home seriously. All it takes is one accident to turn into a much larger problem so the best remedy to avoid trips to the ER, or to your local physical therapist, is prevention. As we age, it is important to work on balance. A simple way to do it is to practice standing on one foot, normal balance is to be able to do that for 30 seconds. Yoga, Tai Chi, and QiGong also help to improve balance.