Fall Prevention Design: How to Decorate and Organize Your Home to Reduce Falls
Each year, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls—and about 20% of those falls are the cause of a broken bone or head injury. Head injuries and hip fractures related to falls account for more than 800,000 hospitalizations each year. Recovery after a fall is also one of the leading reasons seniors require short-term care or rehabilitation.
The numbers don’t lie. Falls are serious business for seniors, which makes fall prevention an important responsibility for you and your loved ones. Learning how to prevent falls and fall-proofing your home can give you greater peace of mind about your safety.
Reduce Falls Where They Happen Most
The majority of all falls happen in the home. You may be surprised to learn most of these are from a level position (in other words, not on the stairs). Identifying potential dangers and making some adjustments to your decorating and home design can go a long way toward fall prevention and creating a safer living environment.
Eliminate tripping and slipping hazards. The entryway is a prime location for a fall for many reasons. There’s often a step or lip to navigate, many people use small rugs to catch debris from shoes, and if there’s rain or snow, it’s a surface that can become slippery very quickly. Poorly stretched carpet, area rugs, narrow walking paths, cords, and low furniture like footstools and coffee tables are all trip hazards in the home that make it easy to stumble. Making repairs and eliminating these hazards are ideas for fall prevention that allow for safer movement from room to room.
Put essentials within easy reach. Keep the things you need where you can access them without climbing on a stool or ladder. This may require some reorganizing, such as moving infrequently used items to the top shelf of the pantry and bringing other items down. In general, the idea is to make your most-used belongings as accessible as possible. Also think about controls or other places you may find yourself straining to reach, like an overhead light or ceiling fan, and make modifications, such as adding a pull chain extender.
Reduce clutter. Regular furnishings and decorative elements may be the most obvious risks, but other hazards can literally pile up over time. Maintaining a tidy living space is another example of fall prevention, so declutter your home and avoid allowing things like mail, clothing, and other household items to accumulate where they don’t belong. If necessary, seek out a professional who can provide organization tips for your home and help you corral your belongings.
Improve lighting. Poor lighting can make it harder to watch where you’re going. Where possible, invite in more natural light, and if necessary, add more light fixtures to ensure each room is well illuminated (taking care to tuck the cords safely out of sight). You can also encourage fall prevention by increasing the wattage of your bulbs to create brighter, safer spaces, and in places where it may be difficult to add fixtures, like a hallway, consider motion-activated lights that plug in or operate on batteries.
We’ll Be Your Partner in Prevention and Recovery
Using resources like Springpoint’s personal care services can help seniors prevent falls. Through Springpoint at Home, a registered nurse will assess your needs and safety within your home, then make recommendations to help you achieve the highest quality of life, including services to help prevent falls.
If a fall does happen, our rehabilitation centers across New Jersey and Delaware provide the therapy you need to regain strength and mobility and get back to enjoying life. Then, when you’re ready, our thoughtful “Return Home” planning helps ensure a smooth transition back home. Give us a call with questions or let us help you find a Springpoint community nearby.