By Stephanie Waggoner
Special to The Greenup Beacon
Falls happen quickly, even when we are prepared for them. However with the amount of damage a fall can cause when we age; we want to do all we can to prevent a fall.
Preparation is a key factor in preventing falls at home. Take a few minutes to make sure you can walk easily through your home. Often times, there is an end table that people bump into or a lamp with a cord that stretches across the room; these are preventable falls hazards. Keep in mind that if you use a walker it requires increased maneuverability space. Pay close attention to things you can trip over in the floor. We all love our pets, but they can get underfoot easily. Also, you want to check where their toys are when you are up walking.
Another leading cause of falls is throw rugs. A throw rug can easily slide when you step on it, you can catch your toe on it, and it can get caught on the back legs of a walker. A bath mat is however, a good idea to have when you get out of the tub. No matter how dry you think you got your feet, they still could be slippery when you step out of the tub on tile.
It is important to see where you are walking, objects in your path. This is why a nightlight, lamp by the bed, or leaving the hallway light on is important; especially if you get up in the middle of the night. Always make sure the stairs are well lit. If a bulb burns out, have someone replace it quickly. If you are going out even in the afternoon, leave an outside light on. You never know how long you will be gone. This makes getting up the front porch so much easier and safer.
A lot of falls happen when a person is reaching up or bending over. People tend to lose their balance backwards when reaching up and they fall forwards when bending over. This is why it is important to organize cabinets and drawers where items used often are easy to reach. Heavy items should not be placed on the top shelf. When getting things out of the bottom cabinets it’s a good idea to pull a chair over and sit in it. It is important to avoid over-reaching. It is also a good idea to even have some dishes laid out on the countertop to start the day.
Falls happen when people are tired and in a hurry. It’s important to pace yourself, not to overdo it. Take a rest break every so often. Then don’t rush when you are up on your feet. If you need to stop and rest to get to one side of the house to the other, just make sure you have a chair. Allot yourself time to take rest breaks during the day.
It only takes one time for a fall to happen. It could be something that you have done a million times and have been fine, but things happen. It is important to think things out before you do them. Should you really be standing on a bar stool to change a light bulb or is there someone who could do that for you? Things do happen do matter how careful we are. That is why it is so important to have a backup plan.
Keep a phone with you in case something does happen. Have someone check on you daily, whether it’s calling or stopping by. It’s also a good idea to look into one of those security necklaces or bracelets. No one wants to fall and have to wait hours for someone to find them. Remember to plan ahead to help prevent falls.