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04/06/2009 - Articles

How To Avoid Falls at Home

By: Robert W. Griffith, MD

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Fall-related injuries are increasingly common as more people live longer. Here are some practical suggestions to help avoid falls in the home.

Fall-related injuries are becoming increasingly common in older persons. Here is some practical advice on helping to avoid such falls in the home.

GENERAL
Ensure all rooms are well lit
Don't let pets get under your feet
Control room temperature - being too hot or cold can make you dizzy
Repair broken steps or handrails promptly
Get no-slip stair treads

LIVING AREA
Fix carpet edges to the floor - avoid loose rugs and mats
Don't polish uncovered floors too highly
Ensure all handles, railings and banisters are firmly fastened
Fasten electrical wires from the TV, lamps etc to a wall
Keep floors clear of clutter - e.g. shoes, toys

BED & BATHROOMS
Fit low-voltage night-lights
Use non-slip mats or appliques in bathtubs and showers
Get a grab-bar for the tub or shower

KITCHEN
Clean up all spills at once
Use a step-stool with a handrail

CLOTHING
Wear rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes
Avoid over-long pants legs

GOOD HABITS
Do strength training, balance training, or Tai Chi
Control your alcohol intake, and limit your medications (ask your family physician)
Before getting up from the bed, sit on the edge for a few minutes (risk of low blood pressure).

Source

Fall-induced injuries and deaths among older adults. P. Kannus, J. Parkkari, S. Koskinen, JAMA, 1999, vol. 281, pp. 1895--1899

Links

Exercise, Aging, and Health: Overcoming Barriers to an Active Old Age. Sandra O'Brien Cousins Falls in Older Persons: Prevention and Management. Rein Tideiksaar

Created on: 06/05/2003
Reviewed on: 04/06/2009

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