Falling doesn’t have to be part of the ageing process, and a lot of them can be prevented. Yet, falls remain the most common cause of hospitalisation for people above the age of 65.
The irony? According to the Health Promotion Board (HPB), close to 70% of falls among older people happen in the supposed safe haven of their homes. To address this issue, HPB launched its Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign last July. Don’t assume it’s relevant only for the injured or immobile elderly though – it takes just a moment of distraction for anyone to slip and fall, and the consequences of a fall for an elderly person could be irreversible.
Prevention is better than cure, so don’t take things for granted. Here are 5 quick questions to help check if your home is #FallProof:#1. Is there reliable support at high risk areas?
Remember a time when you lost your balance and were thankful to have grabbed onto something to steady yourself, hoping it wouldn’t give way?
Don’t leave things to chance. Bathrooms are high risk areas at home. Something as simple as securely installed grab bars to hold on to will give your loved ones a peace of mind.
#2. Are there places to sit on while carrying out an activity?
Everyday activities such as tying your shoe laces or showering can be a lot safer if there is somewhere to rest at the same time, instead of performing a balancing act while standing up.
Placing a chair by the shoe cabinet is an easy solution. However, if it were to be used in a shower, consider a non-slip shower chair or wall-mounted folding shower seat, if there are space constraints.
#3. Is the floor slippery?
This one seems obvious, but it can be a challenge for areas prone to getting wet such as the bathroom. Use slip resistant materials like a non-slip bath mat or anti-bath adhesives to provide extra stability so your loved ones are able to move around safely.
If there is a habit of wearing slippers in the bathroom, make sure they are non-slip and of a fitting size to prevent trips.
#4. Is there a risk of falling out of bed?
If your loved one has fallen out of bed before, there is a chance that it will occur again. There are several reasons why seniors fall out of bed – medication causing disorientation, nightmares, rolling over due to misjudgement or the lack of assistance getting up.
Bed rails are an effective solution to preventing falls from beds, giving seniors a peace of mind when they sleep at night. Some of them also double up as a sturdy handle for the elderly person to steady themselves when they get up in the morning.
#5. Is there adequate lighting?
Especially for seniors whose eyesight has been deteriorating, dim lights at home can cause misjudgement in their movement. Make sure there’s sufficient lighting in the bathroom and kitchen, and consider getting a night light beside the bed just in case there is a need to get up in the middle of the night in darkness.
Of course, these are just 5 out of many ways to prevent falls at home and ensuring a safer environment for seniors. More ideas to #FallProof your home? Share with us by commenting below so everyone can learn how to make our homes free from trips and falls.