Falls can happen anywhere—say when you’re out for a walk, or visiting a new place. However, most falls occur at home. It makes sense: that’s where you spend the most time, after all—but often times being among familiar surroundings can cause us to underestimate the danger.
The good news, of course, is that since it is your home we’re talking about, you have a lot of power to make the environment as safe as it can possibly be. While there’s no guarantee that public locations or other private residences will be conducive to fall prevention, you have many options at your disposal to make your home a safe environment for you, reducing the odds of a fall and allowing you to live independently as long and well as possible.
There are three basic components to preventing falls at home: removing obstacles, adding adaptive devices, and footwear.
For the first, remove any objects that could lead to tripping or slipping in high-traffic walkways. Clean up stacks of papers, clothes, or other messes; keep furniture like coffee tables or magazine racks out of the way; make sure cords are tucked out of the way and throw rugs are either removed or secured to the floor. You should also make sure any items you need to use or interact with (such as dishes, food, or clothes) are located within easy reach—don’t keep them high up or low down.
For the second, install tools that help you stay on your feet or get up and down safely. Grab bars and hand rails for showers, bathrooms, and stairs are a good choice, as are raised toilet seats and slip-proof mats for the tub, bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and elsewhere.
Finally, footwear. We know that your slippers and flip flops are easy and comfortable, but they are also prone to slip and slide. Opt for sturdy shoes with thick rubber soles that offer a lot of support and grip.
A good occupational therapist can help you sort out what kinds of changes you need to make to your home environment to keep you safe. Furthermore, a good podiatrist like Dr. Danciger can help you find the right pair of shoes, as well as provide care for other foot and ankle conditions (such as bunions, hammertoes, unstable ankles, and gait irregularities) that put your balance at risk wherever you go, home or not. We strongly encourage you to make an appointment today by calling us at 760-568-0108.