Home Helpers serves many families with emergency medical alerts that provide assistance at the touch of a button 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  However, our desire is that the systems never need to be used because precautions have been taken to prevent accidents.

With Fall Prevention in mind, we want to share the following information:

Keep moving

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention.  Talk with your doctor about physical activities such as walking, water aerobics or tai chi.  Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your doctor.  He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist.  The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.

Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan.  High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall, as can walking in your stocking feet.

Instead:

  • Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes, since foot size can change.
  • Buy properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
  • Avoid shoes with extra-thick soles.
  • Choose lace-up shoes instead of slip-ons, and keep the laces tied.  If you have trouble tying laces, select footwear with fabric fasteners.

Remove home hazards

Take a look around your home.  The living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards.

To make your home safer:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.
  • Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.
  • Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
  • Use nonskid floor wax.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.

Light up your living space

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

Also:

  • Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
  • Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.
  • Make clear paths to light switches that aren’t near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

Use assistive devices

Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too.

For example:

  • Hand rails for both sides of stairways
  • Nonslip treads for bare-wood steps
  • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
  • Grab bars for the shower or tub
  • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

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