Home Safety Tips for Older People
Falls are the biggest cause of injury to older people.
Research shows that the risk of having a fall is increased by these factors:
• Deterioration of balance and gait
• Muscle weakness
• Using 4 or more different medication
• Deteriorating eyesight
• Previous falls
Other factors that increase the risk of having a fall include:
• Cold housing conditions
• Poor lighting
• Shoes that do not fit correctly
• Unsafe stairway area
Here are a few steps which can be taken to help reduce the risk of a fall:
- Ensure that you are taking the correct dosage of your medicine at the prescribed times. Ask your Pharmacist or Doctor about the best way of organising your medicines to make it easier to take them at the correct time. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively and help to keep track of what tablets have been taken during the day.
- Throw away out of date medicines and don’t take another person’s medicine.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you feel dizzy after taking your medication.
Moving around the home
- Don’t rush to answer the telephone – they’ll call you back if it’s important.
- Turn on the light before getting out of bed.
- Make sure that flooring is secure as loose or worn carpet can be a tripping hazard.
- Try to keep warm and take exercise to help keep muscles strong and supple.
- Keep a light on at night so that you can see where to go if you need to get around in the dark – an energy saving light bulb is ideal for this as they use approximately ⅓ of the electricity that a standard bulb uses and can last from 6 to 10 years.
- Consider getting a second handrail fitted for the stairs.
- Keep the stairs and floor free of clutter so you can’t trip over them.
- Get your eyes tested every year as eyesight can deteriorate with age.
- Take care when using bifocals and varifocals as they can increase the risk of a fall.
- If you wear glasses, keep them next to your bed and put them on when getting out of bed. Also give yourself a few moments to allow your eyes to adjust to the light and effect of the glasses.
- Wear flat soled shoes that are well fitted and fastened securely.
- Try to avoid ‘slip on’ slippers or those that have no back on them as they can cause you t trip if they are not on properly.
- High or raised heels can also increase instability and are also best avoided.