Falls are serious and costly. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. In 2015, the total medical cost for fall-related treatments are more than $50 billion!
What’s more, National Institute on Aging also indicated more than 60% of falls happen at home among senior people. Therefore, home modification becomes an essential element to enhance fall prevention in elderly population.
⭐ Clean Up Your Clutter
Remove all clutter in your living area, such as stacks of books or magazines, disorganized items on the floor or randomly placed chairs.
Remember to get rid of all loose carpets, slippery throw rugs. They are tripping hazard and largely increase the risk of falling at home!
Therefore, the easiest and least costly way of home modification for fall prevention, is keeping your home clean and tidy all the time.
⭐ Make it Non-Slip
* Wooden Floor: If you have wooden floor at home, make sure to use nonslip floor wax or cleaning products. Wear indoor shoes is also a good idea for fall prevention.
* Stairs: Install nonslip mats and solid handrails on the stairway.
⭐ Bathroom Safety Check
Bathroom is one of the most risky area to have fall incidents at home. At first, let’s see the worst example below. (ironically this one claimed to be one of the best bathroom design on Pinterest...)
* No Grab bars nearby the toilet or bathtub.
* No nonslip mat on the tiled floor.
* Bathtub is not recommended at all, it is tripping hazard getting in or out of the tub.
* Strangely, this bathroom is not even on the same level!
* The tiles pattern is too colorful and confusing, which make it dangerous for people have poor eyesight, who can easily trip over objects on the floor.
An ideal bathroom should have:
* Separate shower and bath.
* Grab bars.
* Nonslip shower mat.
* Shower chair & raised toilet seat.
Appropriate lighting is an important part of home modification for fall prevention. For older adults, we should follow the principles below:
* Enough lighting in “danger zone” areas like stairways, bathrooms & kitchens.
* Warm & yellow light for living room & bedrooms.
* Put night lights or light switches close to your bed.
In summary, fall is the health killer of elderly people. Always feel free to communicate your concerns with your loved ones and occupational therapists, even a minor home modification can greatly improve for your safety in living environment!