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Preventing falls at home


According to the World Health Organization, falls are “the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide” with adults over 65 being at the greatest risk. But did you know that taking a tumble is also the number one cause of injuries in seniors? And that the consequences range from serious cuts and bruises to hip replacement surgery and living with the long-term consequences of a serious head injury. Fortunately, there are several simple strategies you can implement to reduce your risk at home.

Start with yourself
As you age, aspects of your health that you once took for granted – your eyesight, strength, balance and co-ordination – often start to deteriorate. As each of these is key to keeping you on your feet, it’s important to take care of them. Start by having your eyesight tested regularly. Then, try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Pilatestai chiwalking and water aerobics are great ways to strengthen your core muscles and improve your balance – just make sure you get the go-ahead from your GP or healthcare professional. And while you’re at it… 

Check your meds
Certain medications can increase your risk of falling, so make a comprehensive list of everything you’re taking and chat to your doctor about any changes you may need to make.

Next, consider implementing these area-specific interventions…

In your living room

  • Make sure that any loose rugs or carpets are secured on non-slip mats.
  • Keep clutter and furniture to a minimum.
  • Ensure that all electrical wires and cabling are tucked neatly out of the way.

In your bedroom

  • Make sure that any loose rugs or carpets are secured on non-slip mats.
  • Hang your clothing where it’s easy to reach.
  • Place a light next to your bed so you can see where you’re going if you need to get up in the night.
  • Keep a torch in the drawer of your bedside table in case of a power outage or load shedding.

In your kitchen

  • Place a non-slip mat in your kitchen.
  • Keep cutlery, crockery and other kitchen items you use regularly within easy reach.
  • Clean up any spills immediately.

In your bathroom

  • Use a nonslip mat in your shower and bath. 
  • If balance is an issue, sit on a bath seat while showering.