Cut the Clutter!
Maintain wide, clear paths and walkways by removing clutter and unnecessary furniture especially around stairs and in hallways. This includes boxes, stacks of magazines or newspapers and other items that can be stored away from walking paths.
Remove trip hazards
Examine each room in your home closely for trip hazards. This can include loose rugs or carpet, slick stairs, floor boards that are lifting up, electrical cords, and potentially wet or slick areas of flooring such as the kitchen or bathroom. Consider modifying high thresholds, especially in areas where two different types of flooring join. Repair, remove, or replace any hazards you find right away.
Get a grip
Use mats with nonslip material so they do not slide around. This is especially helpful in the bathroom, kitchen, and porches where flooring may get wet and slippery. It is imperative to ensure all mats or rugs being utilized in any areas are nonslip and will not slide when stepped on.
Adequate lighting is imperative to preventing falls. Avoid getting out of bed at night in the dark. Keep a lamp next to the bed within easy reach and night lights along the pathway to the bathroom and in hallways. Lampshades that cast light up toward the ceiling are recommended as they allow more light throughout the room than lampshades that cast the light down, which create a spotlight and can cast shadows. Always turn on lights in the stairway before going up or down the stairs. Consider trading out regular light switches for glow in the dark or illuminated ones so they are easier to find in a dark room.
Keep your shoes on
Stay away from high heels. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes with nonskid soles. If your shoes have laces, make sure they are always tied securely. Avoid wearing only socks or slippers that slide on your feet as they may cause you to slip or stumble.
Beef up your bathroom
Many falls occur in the bathroom and can be avoided with use of nonslip bathmats and installing grab bars near the toilet and inside and outside the bathtub or shower stall. Using a raised toilet seat can assist with standing safely from the toilet. A shower stool or chair, hand-held showerhead, and long handled sponges can reduce the risk of falling in the shower.
Move it or lose it
Regular exercise to maintain strength, balance, endurance and coordination is vital to preventing falls. Safe exercises to help prevent falls include walking, tai chi, yoga, swimming and water aerobics. Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of activity per day.
Pay attention to your changing health
Closely monitor medications to be aware of those that may cause dizziness or drowsiness in order to take caution with potential side effects. Have your eyesight checked regularly and make sure your eyewear prescription is current. Learn to pause for one minute when changing positions from lying down to sitting up and from sitting to standing as these positional changes can cause dizziness. This is important to remember to do at night if you need to get up to use the restroom – pause for a moment sitting on the side of the bed before initiating walking. Consider using a mobility device, such as a cane or walker for support and always keep it handy by the bed at night.
Mind the weather
In winter months be prepared for wet, slick, and icy walkways. Use nonslip door mats on porches, decks, and stoops. Use de-icing products on outdoor pathways. Always use available handrails and consider using a cane or walker for support when going out. Keep it near the front door as a reminder to use it!