My husband is a firefighter with 32 years of experience in the field. With the improvement in building practices and home fire safety awareness, his engine calls have gone down over the years. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t busier than ever. That’s because the fire calls have been replaced with calls for help for people who’ve fallen or who need a lift assist.
Many mobility impaired people are now living in their homes longer with minimal assistance and those homes aren’t always set up for their safety. But there are a few things you can do to help assure your loved one, or even yourself, is protected from serious falls as long as possible.
Home Safety Checklist for Fall Prevention
- Instruct your family member to always get up slowly from a sitting position. This is especially important if they’ve started or changed medications recently.
- Keep clutter to a minimum and keep the floor clear of debris; especially on the stairs. Ensuring a clear passageway will go a long way to avoiding falls.
- Remove extension cords or other wires that may obstruct your loved one’s way or ones he/she could get entangled in. Extension cords are also a fire danger, especially if they’re run under a rug. NEVER put an electrical cord in any situation where the outside housing could be damaged.
- If you must use a throw rug, secure it to the floor. A loose rug is a recipe for disaster.
- If your loved one is in a wheelchair or walker, remove any thick carpeting which can hamper his/her way. A hard, flat surface, is safer and easier for them to move around on. Provide stockings or slippers with traction on the bottom to assure their safety.
- Install handrails in the bathroom, stairways, and outside paths. Anywhere a little stabilization is required.
- The Bathroom is a place where many falls happen. If the family member has been straining on the toilet, it can start a body’s natural vasovagal reaction which can result in dizziness or fainting. That leads to a fall. Instruct him/her to always get up slowly from the sitting position and use the handrail to avoid this very common fall which can leave the person trapped beside the toilet until help arrives. NEVER be embarrassed to ask for help in lifting a person. Emergency services are there to help you and your loved one.
- Whenever possible, widen doorways for the wheelchair bound and provide a ramp if necessary. If you can’t build a ramp, portable and temporary ramps which fold or roll up and can be stored away when not needed can be purchased.
Falls can cause injuries that can lead to devastating health consequences in people in compromised health situations. Anything you can do to prevent them saves you in both time, money, heartache, and worry.
This post was inspired by Genworth Financial. All opinions are 100% my own. For more information about caregiving, visit the Genworth Financial website.