Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Falling

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,586
    Physical therapist Lee Ann Rostron, with MedStar Visiting Nurse Association, discusses ways to lower your risk of falling in the home.

    Lee Ann Rostron: Hi! I am Lee Ann Rostron a physical therapist with MedStar Visiting Nurse Association. To keep you safe I am going to give you some tips to help you reduce the risk of falling at home.

    First, wear rubberised footwear such as slipper or shoes with a back or hospital footies which are available at kitchen and bath stores. Avoid hope heeled footwear, dress shoes, bare feet, and especially plain socks or compression stockings, as these can get very slippery.

    Change positions slowly especially when getting out of bed in the morning. Blood pressure can drop which can make you feel dizzy and lose balance. Sit up on the edge of the bed for a moment before standing. Then stand and take a deep breath before beginning to walk. Beware of rugs. Remove small area rugs which can cause you to trip, especially if you use a rolling walker. Secure large area rugs with rubber shelf liner and/or two-sided carpet tape, both available at kitchen and bath stores. Use this rubber liner or rubber backed mats in the bathroom to prevent slipping.

    Make sure you have good lighting. Check to see all overhead lights are in working condition and turn lights on as you access each area. Your body uses vision as one of three main strategies for maintaining balance. Remove and minimize other tripping hazards. Cut back clutter throughout the house, but especially along walkways. This also means moving nonessential furniture. Secure chords with straphangers which are available at hardware stores and never let them cross a walkway.

    Teach young children to keep clear of the patient and his/her assistive device. Know where your pets are, so they don't get underfoot. Make sure rails are secure and that they are bolded into wall studs. Consider having a second rail installed for stability. If you find yourself reaching for tail racks in the bathroom, consider adding grab bars which are available at medical supply or kitchen and bath stores.

    Purchase durable medical equipment to assist you, such as the walker or a cane. You may also need adaptive equipment like a raised toilet seat, shower chair, or bed rails to decrease your risk of falling. A physical or occupational therapist can make specific recommendations. By making just a few changes in your home, you will be taking steps to protect your health and safety.