Preventing Falls: Safety Tips for the Home and Yard
Following safety rules in the home is very important. Keeping things neat, clean, and tidy can prevent a lot of falls. Here are some things to think about if you have trouble getting around.
The more cleaning, the better. Soap scum can form on the inside of the tub, causing a slippery ring that can cause falls if not cleaned.
Clearly Label Hot and Cold Water Knobs
Bad burns are sometimes caused by the inability to see the labeling on the shower handles. Water can get into the eyes or a bout of forgetfulness may slip in. By clearly labeling the handles with a waterproof marker, you are preventing mishaps.
Keep Everything in Reach
Place frequently used dishes and silverware within easy reach. When everything is close by it minimizes the need to stand on tiptoes or to bend over to get something.
Minimize Items in the Kitchen
If you’re living alone, do you need 28 plates? Do you really need more glasses than an optometrist? Box them up and put them into storage or give them away.
Keep Cabinets Organized
If you don’t know what’s in them, or fear for your life when you open a cabinet, it’s time to organize. Take everything out, decide what you need and don’t need, putting the things that you don’t need into storage boxes.
Safety Tips for Stairs
Limit Upstairs Use
If it is possible to arrange a house to avoid having to climb stairs, do so. A stair fall can easily cause severe injuries.
Check the Carpet
Make sure that there is no carpet that’s sticking up or ruffled. If carpeting starts to become loose in a stairwell, tack it down or reinstall it completely.
Inspect Handrails Often
Loose handrails are of no use to you because you cannot trust them to hold your weight when you push on them. Inspect hand rails to make sure that they do not easily move in your hands and repair them as soon as you notice something loose.
It’s not a race. Going a little slower on the stairs has the potential to save your life.
Even a little crack can cause a big problem. If you go out often, hire someone to repair any damage to walkways.
Keep Walkways Clean
Arrange to have leaves, snow, and ice removed from stairs and walkways. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months. Kitty litter is especially effective.
Stay on the Grass
When sidewalks are wet, the best place to walk is on the grass. The naturally uneven surface will give you a little bit more traction.
Is There Enough Light Outside?
Just as on the inside, make sure that there’s appropriate outdoor lighting in entryways and other walking areas.
Avoid Glare by Wearing Sunglasses
If you’re out in the sun, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare. Make sure that if you wear prescription eyewear that the sunglasses adhere to your prescription.
Use a Cane or Walker if necessary
If you need extra support while walking, the best thing to do is use a cane or a walker. An orthopedist can recommend the correct height.
Be Careful Going out to the Mailbox
When walking out to the mailbox, be very careful when changing heights. Even a small change in height can cause a fall.
Wear Sturdy Shoes
For added traction, make sure you wear rubber-soled shoes with good tread when going out. Our next section titled Choosing the Right Shoes goes over how to choose the right non-slip shoes.
General Fall Prevention Tips
Remove All Throw Rugs
Those throw rugs can catch on your toes and cause falls. If you’re in the kitchen a lot, consider putting in textured linoleum or thin carpeting.
Clean Spills Immediately
“I’ll get to it later.” Unfortunately, those ‘later’ things cause hazards for those who are walking around. Immediate cleaning means you don’t have to pay attention to them anymore.
Keep Everything Closed
Murphy’s Law says that if there’s a possibility that you can bump into it, it will be bumped into. Closing cabinets, drawers, and doors when they’re in the way takes only a second.
Brighten The Dark Corners
In larger houses, there are plenty of dark corners which can cause trouble. Setting up lights where you need them will not only brighten up the house, but brighten up your life.
Keep Clothes Organized
Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can comfortably reach them.
Get Help if you need it
If you find that something is heavier than you can lift, get assistance or reduce the load as much as you can.