How To Prevent Falls

Falls can happen to anyone but the media is happy to attribute it to the older folks only. However safety measures are the same regardless of age.

– Try wearing comfy lower-heeled shoes with a rubber non-skid sole.

– Some sources recommend not walking in socks, not sure why. Possibly because they can be slippery; however some have a non-skid bottom, hospitals use them all the time. I walk barefoot at home and have no problem with that.

– Make sure that skirts or other clothing isn’t too long that can cause a trip hazard

– Keep rooms free of clutter. What a perfect way to stay organized! Like killing two birds with one stone.

– Some sources recommend using area rugs & runners with non-skid backing or tacked to the floor. I would say, do away with both as it’s easy to trip over these. I remember my late father having this problem when he still lived in his apartment. He was tripping over the runners that were finally taken away when this started happening on and on.

– Make sure that any area of your home you go to, is well lit.

– Install grab bars in the bathroom. Use a non-stick floor mat in the tub; I’m using the one with the suction cups.

Remember that commercial when a woman falls while in the tub and her daughter just happened to drop by and came to her rescue? It was advertising some button device, I think… I have cut the TV cord ever since so no more commercials for me. But I don’t remember seeing any grab bars in that tub. I wish that this commercial focused more on the tub safety, rather than selling some button.

– If you take a bath, do not add anything containing oil to the bath water as this can make the tub slippery.

– make sure that all areas of your home are well lit, especially at night.

– Be sure that the stairs are well lit and have rails. Some sources recommend having rails on both sides but I am not sure how this can help, considering that a standard staircase is 36 inches wide. I would much rather hold on to the rail on one side, but this is just me.

– Beware of the short steps, especially when going downstairs. It’s hard to explain but I will try.

Here’s the scenario. You’re walking downstairs, one step at a time. When a short step happens, you make a short second step on the same stair instead of the next one below. At the same time your body leans forward in anticipation of stepping on the lower stair but this isn’t happening at the moment. This can cause a fall so it’s crucial to hold on to the rail(s).

Contrary to the popular belief, safety while walking stairs isn’t only for the older folks. I remember watching one of the episodes of Forensic Files, I think it was Convictions Overturned series, when a young woman fell while walking upstairs from the basement. In hindsight, the design of the stairs was clearly looking for trouble. There were no rail(s), and there was a gap between the stairs and the adjacent wall at one end. The woman was pronounced dead; she was only 35 years old.

In summary, try to avoid any situation where you can trip and fall.

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