More than half of all injuries experienced by Canadian seniors are due to falls. Since the likelihood of dying from a fall-related injury increases as you age, it is important to make sure that your home is safe. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, nearly half of all injuries among seniors occur in the home, and 15 per cent of falls occur in the bathroom or stairs. These accidents are completely avoidable.
“Many seniors may limit their daily activities and, ultimately, their quality of life to avoid getting injured,” says Kelly McCain, Director of Product Development at Royal LePage Canada, “However, a few subtle household adjustments can be just as effective and keep you happy at the same time.”
To stay safe while maintaining your independence, there are several simple things that you can do. Ensure that all rooms and hallways in your home are well lit and clear of obstacles. This includes throw rugs and mats. They are dangerous and can easily be slipped upon. If you have hardwood or ceramic floors, consider changing to carpet. Although this can be costly, it will decrease the chances of a fall due to slippery surfaces.
Install night lights by your stairs and be sure that your stairways are free of clutter. Make sure that there are solid handrails on both sides of the stairway. If you have wood stairs, think about installing a carpet “runner” down the middle of your staircase or adding traction strips to provide steadier footing. Ensure that there are light switches at both the top and bottom of your stairways.
In the bathroom, make sure that your tub and shower surfaces are non-slip. This may involve adding traction strips, once again. Anchor grab bars to the walls of your bathtub or shower and purchase bath mats that have rubberized or non-skid backing. If you have difficulty standing up in the shower, try using a bath seat. Some bath seats are designed specifically to make your entrance and exit from the tub easier. If you require the use of a bath seat, hand-held shower heads are an excellent option.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but keep a list of emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Follow these simple safety tips and spend less time worrying and more time enjoying life! After all, you’ve come this far and you never know what could be just around the corner. Hopefully not clutter!