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Tips for Preventing Slips and Falls at Home

prevent slips and falls

Tips for Preventing Slips and Falls at Home

Slips and falls are the most common cause of injuries in the home. They can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone, but seniors are especially at risk for slips and falls.

In 2019, over 34,000 people aged 65 and older died due to falls, making them the leading cause of injury death for that age group, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As we age, the risk of falling increases. When seniors fall, they are more likely to suffer from serious injuries and even death. The good news is that falls can be prevented and many people who have suffered from a fall are able to recover quickly with the help of their family and friends.

Here are some tips for preventing falls in your home:

Keep floors clean. Sweep floors often with a damp mop or broom to remove dirt, dust, and other debris that can cause slippery surfaces. Remove rugs from high-traffic areas so they don’t collect dirt or water from spilled beverages or food spills.

Keep floors clear of clutter. Remove shoes before entering the house so that you don’t trip over them when walking down steps or getting up from sitting.

Wear shoes with good traction on slippery floors like tile or hardwood floors. Don’t wear high heels or sandals without socks.

If you have trouble seeing, install night lights in dark areas such as the basement, laundry room, and bathroom to reduce tripping hazards at night or early morning hours.

Install handrails in stairways to help prevent slips and falls on stairs. If you live alone and are unable to use a handrail, for safety reasons, consider installing grab bars on each side of the bathtub/shower area for easier access and added stability during showering or bathing activities.

If you have small children in the house, consider using safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairways since these areas present some of the highest risks for falling accidents among young children.

Use non-slip pads under furniture legs that have wheels on them to prevent them from sliding across floors. Use adhesive pads under bathroom vanity legs if they tend to move around while you’re getting dressed or assisting seniors to get dressed.

Repair damaged floors or stairs immediately. A single missing stair tread can lead to serious injury.

Clean up spills quickly and thoroughly. Be sure to wipe up any spills immediately so they do not become hardened into slippery surfaces by dirt or dust.

In the winter months, it’s common for seniors to take a spill on ice or snow in their homes. Many of these falls can result in serious injuries, including broken bones and head trauma.

Clear ice and snow from your walkways, front steps, back stairs, and decks before they accumulate. Make sure pathways are well lit so your loved one doesn’t trip over obstacles in the dark.

Make sure rugs don’t bunch up under furniture legs where they could trip someone up as they walk by or sit down in a chair. Also, ensure carpets aren’t worn through so they provide no traction for feet when wet from snow or rainwater leaking through the roof into a room below it.

Always wear rubber-soled shoes outdoors when it’s raining or snowing because wet ground makes footing slippery.

If you have elderly loved ones living with you who might be at risk for falls, talk to their doctor about their risk factors for falls and what can be done to help prevent them from happening in the first place.

Learn more about how to prevent falls at STEADI-Older Adult Fall Prevention.

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