The National Council on Aging has made today its annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day…and with good reason. Someone somewhere right now is having a nasty fall that will cause a 911 call and a trip to the ER. The person will be lucky if a hip or arm isn't broken, or there is no concussion.
I’ve lived this. My wife has had many falls and three severe concussions. In one case she was knocked unconscious and we thought she had fractured her skull.
Our company is in the business of creating products for healthy aging, but those like us can only do so much to help others remain stable and safe. Physical therapists are usually called upon after a fall, when it’s too late!
So what are 10 things you can do to be reduce your fall risk? Here are our recommendations:
1. Either get rid of area carpets or anchor them with double sided tape so that you won't trip on them.
2. Have safety bars installed in your bathroom[s] to hold when sitting or getting up; or, just to hold while maneuvering in the bathroom.
3. Have a small chair or fold-up shower seat put in you shower stall and use it when you shower.
4. Buy a sticky matt to put on the floor of your shower to prevent slipping.
5. When stopping on your walker, put both brakes on; one brake only and one side of the walker can slip away from you and you go down.
6. Before rising from bed or a chair, stop, think and clear your mind about how you need to use both hands to grip chair arms or your walker so as to remain stable when rising.
7. Have someone pick up stuff laying along the areas you walk. Tripping over shoes, towels or other things left on the floor are a major risk for those with balance or gait difficulties.
8. When using the stairs, always use the handrail, and move up or down stairs mindful and watching carefully how you place your feet as you go.
9. Continuing to work or function when on heavy meds or over-tired is a major cause of falls resulting in unnecessary visits to the ER.
10. Use a sturdy, safe, upright walker like our LifeWalker. My wife Jean uses hers every day both in the house, and when out for a healthy, safe walk.