How you can reduce the risks of falling in your home
With the days getting darker and the temperatures dropping, the chance of slips and falls dramatically increases. Low light, black ice, and slippery surfaces are all hazards you need to be aware of – especially as you get older.
As the body ages, its resilience to injury and falls depletes – meaning a fall can have a serious impact. There are plenty of things that can increase someone’s chance of falling. Mobility issues, visual impairments, or even mental health can increase the risk. But by checking the house for hazards and putting safety measures in place, you can continue to live comfortably and confidently.
To help you reduce the chances of falling this winter, check out this winter hazard checklist and see if there are areas that need improving.
1. Are walkways clear?
Corridors and walkways can be scattered with clutter if you’re not careful. An odd slipper, mail that needs sorting, or storage boxes that need putting away can all find their way into your space. To reduce the risk of slips and trips, it’s a good idea to remove any loose items like rugs, cables, and clutter.
If you or someone in your care uses mobility equipment like a stairlift, Zimmer frame, or wheelchair, corridors need to be wide enough for the person to comfortably get around. This might require a larger, long-term investment to renovate the house to be fit for use. However, for the short term, it’s worth just making sure there are no obstacles in the way.
2. Is there enough lighting?
Visual impairments can make it much easier to trip or fall. Keeping the house well-lit is the first step to reducing the risk. Being able to clearly see where you’re going – whether it’s during the day or night – is incredibly important.
For those evening bathroom trips, you may want to consider motion-sensor night lights for the bathroom and hallway. That way, you can easily see where you’re going – even if you’re too sleepy to properly open your eyes.
Make sure that all bulbs in the house are newly fitted and in working condition, and swap out energy-efficient bulbs (that take quite a while to get bright enough) for LED bulbs.
3. Is it difficult to stand for long periods?
Whether it’s while cooking or bathing, standing up for long periods of time can increase the chances of falling. If you find yourself struggling to stand up or feeling in pain while standing upright for short bursts, it may be worth looking into perching stools, shower seats, and wall handrails.
These portable support solutions mean you can continue to enjoy making a cup of tea, having a hot shower, or standing up to watch birds in the garden. Having a little extra support gives you the reassurance that you can do the things you enjoy without a fear of falling. Even if you don’t live at home anymore and reside in an assisted living home, if they can install these additions for you, you can maintain a little bit of independence for longer.
4. Are there safety measures in place for entryways
While the cold temperatures do make it tempting to hibernate in the house all season, a fear of falling certainly shouldn’t stop you from getting out and about. Handrails and grab rails can ensure that you have the support you need to feel confident when leaving the house or coming back home.
There are plenty of other things to keep an eye on to prevent falling. Speak with a friend or relative to see what they think could help. Sometimes an extra pair of eyes can help you see hazards you hadn’t originally thought of.