Preventing Falls At Home
Here are some tips to help prevent a fall at home and everywhere you go
Make sure you have good lighting:
- Keep stairs well lit.
- Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside your bed.
- Use wall switches to turn on lights, or install voice- or sound-activated lamps to make lights easier to turn on and off.
- Put night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
Reduce the chance of tripping or slipping:
- Keep rooms, floors, hallways and stairs free of clutter.
- Carpets or rugs should be tacked to the floor or have non-skid backing.
- Remove low tables, footstools, electric cords and other items from your path.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Do not wax floors.
- Use handrails on stairs and in the bathroom.
- Use a rubber mat in the shower or tub.
Wear good shoes:
- Wear sturdy shoes with low heels and non-skid soles.
- Avoid shoes with thick, heavy soles.
- Avoid walking around in socks, stockings or loose slippers.
- Shoes should fit snugly and all laces should be tied.
Take care of yourself:
- Take care of your feet. Tell your doctor if you have pain or if you have large thick nails or corns.
- Get regular doctor and eye checkups. If you cannot see well because of cataracts or other eye problems, this can lead to falls.
- Use a cane or walker if your doctor suggests it. If you use one, make sure it is in good repair and adjusted for you.
- Limit use of alcohol and tobacco.
- Get regular physical activity to keep your bones and muscles strong.
- Take your medicines on schedule.
- Do not climb or reach to high shelves.
- If you must, use a stable step stool that has wide steps and handrails.
- Better yet, arrange things at counter level so you do not need to stoop down or reach up.
- Carry a portable phone that you can take from room to room. You can answer the phone without rushing to it, and can use the phone to call for help.
- If the weather is nasty, use a walker or cane for extra help, wear warm boots with rubber soles, walk on grass instead of a slippery sidewalk and sprinkle kitty litter on slippery sidewalks or streets.
Keep in touch with someone:
- Have a family member or friend who you can call for help.
- Make sure there is one person who always knows where you are.
- Plan for someone to make contact with you every day.
- If you live alone, you may wish to hire a company that will respond to your call 24 hours a day.
Tell your doctor or the hospital:
- If you have dizzy spells, trouble walking, weak legs, confusion or if you ever feel "off balance."
- If you have fallen, take a list of your medicines when you go to the doctor's office or hospital.
What to do if you fall at home or in public
- Check out your situation and decide if you are hurt.
- Do not get up if you are hurt.
If you can get up from the floor:
- Move to a sitting position on the floor. Rest for a few moments and calm down.
- Find the nearest sturdy chair or other strong, solid piece of furniture.
- Roll over on your hands and knees. Crawl to the chair.
- Put your strongest leg under you so that the foot of that leg is on the floor. Push up, using your arms on the chair for support.
- Sit down until you feel safe to try to walk.
If you cannot get up from the floor:
- Call for help.
- If you are alone, crawl slowly to the nearest telephone and dial 911 or call a relative or friend to help.
If you are hurt or feel confused:
- Get medical help right away.
- Let your doctor know that you fell.
If you are not hurt:
- Even if you are not hurt, tell your doctor that you fell.
- Your doctor can help you find out why you fell and how to prevent other falls. Falling can be related to other medical problems.