Millions of people age 65 and over fall each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and over 3 million of these seniors are treated in the emergency room for injuries. The staff members at The Gardens at Barry Road understand the importance of fall prevention programs and education, and we work proactively to increase the safety of our residents. While methods to prevent falls have already been put in place in our senior living apartments, such as grab bars in the shower areas and a 24-hour emergency call system, there are also many easy steps that you can take to lower your fall risk.
Good fall prevention plans require a team effort from you, your doctors and caregivers, your loved ones and the staff here at The Gardens at Barry Road. Open, honest communication is a crucial element to ensuring everyone is on the same page so that you can receive the best possible care.
Speak with those around you if you experience changes in your balance, vision or strength or are feeling anxious about the topic of falls. Anxiety is normal, especially if you have already experienced a fall in the past, but it's important to remember that you aren't alone and are surrounded by people who care and want to assist you.
The old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" is a wise tactic to employ when considering the items in your senior living apartment and how you use them.
The first step to preventing falls is often to tidy up the floor and ensure walking paths are unobstructed by clutter, electrical cords and corners of furniture.
A good second step is to go through your home and place frequently used items such as coffee mugs or TV remotes in easy-to-reach locations. This is a simple but effective way to reduce the chance of falls since straining to reach upwards and bending or kneeling can potentially cause you to lose your balance.
Another important thing to consider is the speed at which you need certain items and keeping them in accessible locations. If the phone suddenly rings or you spill a drink, it's natural to feel the urge to hurry, but this can cause a distraction that can increase the risk of slipping. Leaving paper towels on the kitchen counter or the phone beside your bed or recliner can help you plan ahead for sudden events and make it easier to refrain from the instinct to rush in response.
Clothing that is baggy or poorly fitted to your height can also enhance fall risks. Set aside some time to go through your closet and carefully consider each article.
Pants and skirts shouldn't interfere with your legs and feet as you walk, and the waistline should fit comfortably. Pants that are too loose and tend to slide down, for example, could cause you to step on the hem and trip. Alternately, if clothes are too tight, they can constrict your movement and throw off your natural gait and balance.
Carefully choosing your footwear and never walking around in only socks are two of the easiest ways you can prevent falls. Shoes with nonslip soles, ankle support and cushioning are good for day-to-day wear. If your favorite brand features laces, it's important that they remain tied properly as you move around. An elastic shoelace such as Lock Laces can make this easier if you struggle with arthritis in your hands or have a hard time bending over.