According to the NHS, around 1 in 3 adults who live at home over the age of 65 will have at least one fall a year. As we age, falling can become particularly dangerous. In fact, falling is one of the leading causes of accidental injury and death in older adults.
But it’s not all grim reading. There are plenty of little adjustments you can make to minimise your risk of slipping. We’ve compiled some practical advice so you can navigate your home with ease and prevent falls.
Clear away clutter
It can be easy to accidentally trip when there’s clutter filling your home. Ask a carer or friend to help move boxes out of hallways, tuck electrical cords away behind furniture (never under rugs) and put your grandchildren’s toys in a storage box out of the way. Why not have a refresh of your furniture layout, too? By rearranging small tables, footstools and chairs, you can create a clear pathway that allows you to easily move from one room to the next.
Consider your clothing
We know how easy it is to slip in ill-fitting slippers, or lose our balance when clothes get caught on door handles. Avoid accidents by ditching oversize clothing in favour of more fitted outfits that won’t catch on furniture or fixtures. Wear well-fitting slippers that have grips on the bottom, so you feel confident walking around your home.
Build body strength
Improving your strength is one of the key ways you can feel more steady on your feet. The WHO reported that regular exercise reduces the risk of having a hip fracture by 40%. Increase your strength gently, with simple stretches and muscle building exercises. A short walk is also recommended for improving your fitness and overall wellbeing.
Slip-proof your bathroom
Water, tiled floors, slippery mats; the bathroom can be filled with hazards. But just a few changes can give you the confidence to enjoy a relaxing soak without worry. Installing sturdy handrails and traction mats are a great idea for providing more stability in the shower. A bath chair can also make it easier to get in and out of the tub. All bathroom mats should feature underside grips and towels should be placed within easy reach so you can easily dry off.
Light up dark spaces
Dark spaces can disguise low tables, rugs and steps. Consider installing lights in low-lit hallways, or moving lamps into dim rooms to brighten your environment. If possible, light switches should be moved to the entrance of rooms to stop you having to walk in the dark.
Bring everything you need to bed
The thought of falling in the night can cause you and your loved ones terrible anxiety. Minimise your risk of falling by keeping everything you might need during the night on your bedside table; like a water bottle, medication, book and glasses. Place a night light nearby too, so you can immediately illuminate your bedroom if you need to get up in the night. Our bed occupancy sensor can provide peace of mind during the night and alerts our monitoring centre should you get up and not return to bed within a set time. We also have wrist bands you can wear that trigger an alert if you fall.
Easy access kitchen
Keep items you use all the time, like the essentials for making a cuppa, close to hand in the kitchen. Storing heavy items in high cupboards can be a recipe for disaster, instead, place them in lower cupboards for easy access. Spillages should be wiped up immediately and, if the floor has been washed, ensure it’s completely dry before heading into the kitchen.
Find out more about preventing falls with Welbeing. Our range of services help provide peace of mind whilst still allowing you to enjoy a life filled with independence.