As we get older and become less active we need to be more vigilant around the home as falling in our own home is very common within the ageing population. With a lot of us living longer and being independent, many elderly people are choosing to remain in their own homes rather than moving into residential care.
A good starting point is to prepare your home for the future. Local authorities will often risk assess your home after a fall and install various aids to prevent another fall occurring. However, there are things you can do yourself to avoid that fall in the first instance. Simple things such as removing clutter from walkways and brighter lighting can make a significant difference to how you move around your home. Floor rugs can be a trip hazard also. You don’t necessarily have to get rid of them, just reposition them or add rug grips to the edges.
Try not to have electrical cables trailing across the floor or near doorways. Sheets and blankets on your bed and poorly fitting slippers can also cause a trip or fall.
These are all easy things we can do ourselves to make our homes a safer place to be. Why not take a look around your home and just see how many of these trip hazards are present?
Let’s take a look at each individual room in the home:
Don’t leave towels or clothing on the floor.
Have a plug-in night light in the hall so that the pathway to the bathroom is lit. Is there a step into the bathroom? If so, fix a handrail in the doorway to aid easy access.
Not everyone has the option of replacing their flooring, however to make your own non-slip floor simply add non slip decals to the existing floor to enhance the grip.
Always have a non-slip mat in the bath and shower tray, this makes it safer to get in and out. Handrails can be mounted to the wall near the bath, shower, and toilet. Remember that towel rails are not strong enough to assist anyone getting in and out of the bath or shower.
A raised seat will make getting on and off the toilet safer, and prevent you slipping or falling. Being unsteady whilst taking a shower is also an issue, so installing a shower chair will help minimise the potential injury.
Try to mop up spill straight away because if you leave the room and come back in you may not see it and slip. Place a non-slip mat in front of your cooker to prevent slipping when getting food out of the oven.
Keep things to hand that you use on a daily basis, don’t store them in hard to reach cupboards.
Try not to overreach for things or stand on a stool. Use handy hooks for tea towels so they don’t fall on the floor. Place non slip gripper feet on chair and table legs. Secure handrails where needed in the kitchen.
Have sufficient lighting.
Don’t have electrical cables trailing across work surfaces.
Don’t leave laundry on the floor in front of the washing machine.
Try not to store items on the floor or have too much furniture in the room. Worn carpets can be a hazard if they are frayed in doorways or other areas.
Keep the telephone near to where you usually sit so that you aren't rushing to answer it. If you use table lamps, don’t have the cables trailing across the floor.
If you can, get a raised armchair to make it easier getting up and down. Sofa throws can be a major trip hazard, so try not to have them trailing on the floor. Fit grips to the edges and corners of rugs so they don’t curl up.
Don’t have any clothing lying on the floor; have plenty of space around your bed. If you use a walker, you need to be able to use it to assist you in and out of bed.
Have a night light or lamp near your bed so that you are not in complete darkness when getting into bed.
Try not to use flat sheets and blankets. A fitted sheet and duvet is much safer to prevent you becoming entangled and falling.
Keep a telephone near your bed for emergencies.
All these small changes can help with how you move around your home and prevent trips and falls. However, remaining fit and active can help with balance and posture too. Doing a few gentle exercises each day will help you stay strong and feel safe in your own home.
From our Abergele office, Home Instead are really proud to be able to provide care and help for Seniors and rewarding careers for their CAREGivers all across North Wales; including Abergele, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, Denbigh, Holywell, Llandudno, Ruthin, Prestatyn, Llanrwst and everywhere in between!
To find out more please contact your local Home Instead – Conwy and Denbighshire office on: Telephone: 01745 772150, or on https://www.homeinstead.co.uk/conwyanddenbighshire/