There are a lot of “little things” you can do to prevent falls and stay safe at home. Falls are a big factor in hospitalizations and permanent, detrimental health issues. Here are some simple tips to make your home a safer place to be:
- No area rugs! Rugs require you to pick up your feet slightly, and eventually you may forget or be unable to do this.
- Keep cords away from walking areas. Put them behind furniture and against a wall.
- Watch out for your pet. Pets and pet toys can add to fall potential. Move toys into a bin or other gathering area when not in use. Pets are great solace and comfort for many people but do watch where they are at your home. Avoid stepping over them.
- Keep your phone handy when you’re outside. Make sure you carry your phone when doing yard work, especially if you live alone. A handy pocket or gardening tote can work to store it in.
- Mark steps. Add a swatch of bright tape to steps, especially those in basement areas or outside where direct light is not always available.
- Install handrails. Use or install handrails on steps and slow down. Everything can be done at a modest pace.
- Let there be light! Turn on lights when entering a room. You may think you are saving energy and you can see, but it is easy to miss obstacles in the gloom of a dark room. Pay attention to outside lighting at your home too. Make sure you change bulbs in light fixtures or have someone do this. Lack of lighting can make your home more attractive to those who might steal, as well as be a potential falls hazard.
- Clear clutter, especially on the stairs. Avoid leaving things on your stairs. It may seem like a no brainer, but many of us leave things on the stairs thinking they are easier to reach there. Make room on a ledge or rack at the foot of your stairs instead. You are better off with empty steps.
- Clear and fix up walkways. Walks are another area for attention when considering outside safety. Walks should be even and smooth. Cracks and uneven areas should be repaired. Keep walks free of debris too. Leaves, stems and rocks can be small items that can alter your gait and make you fall.
Staying active is a great way to keep yourself stronger and more flexible, but it’s important to consider safety factors during your activities. All the “little things” really do add up to big benefits when you consider the risks of falling at home.