Many slip and fall accidents occur inside the home. For seniors, these accidents can lead to serious injury – including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injury – and even death. Making a home safer is not difficult. Each room in a home represents different dangers and each room can be updated and made much safer.
Stairways, hallways, and pathways are high-traffic areas in a home and they can be also where many slip and fall accidents can occur. We tend to rush down stairs and hallways to try to get a ringing phone or we trip over items in the way. To make these areas of a home safer, ensure that there is good lighting available to ensure good visibility. On stairs, ensure that light switches are present at both the top and bottom of the stairs. This makes it easier to ensure that stairs are always well lit. Stairs should also have correctly installed handrails on both sides.
Clearly, stairways, hallways, and pathways need to be kept clear and clutter-free to help prevent tripping. Items such as low tables and small footstools should be removed from these areas. If these areas have carpets or rugs, these floor coverings should be fixed firmly to the floor to prevent slipping. Tile and wooden floors should be equipped with no-slip strips.
Bathrooms and powder rooms present a great deal of danger because these rooms often involve activities – such as bathing – which require someone to sit down and stand up. Also, the floors in these rooms can easily become wet. Renovate these rooms for safety by adding grab bars near toilets and on both the inside and outside of the tub and shower. This provides a secure way to get in and out of the tub and shower. Make sure that it is easy to get in and out of the shower – some bathroom kits involve baths that have shower attachments. Getting in and out of these showers/baths can be tricky, since it can involve stepping over a high bath edge. If you have one of these, consider switching to a regular shower and a regular bath. Make the bathroom floor safer with non-skid mats, strips, or carpets (that are firmly attached to the floor). Install a nigh light to make night-time trips to the bathroom safer.
The bedroom can also be a site of slip and fall accidents, since getting in and out of bed can lead to falls. It is best to ensure that there are light switches or other lights near the bed. That way, if you do need to get up in the middle of the night, you have the light o avoid falls. Also, place a telephone near the bed. If your blood pressure drops and you feel weak getting out of bed, you can call for help. Also, having the telephone by your bed will ensure that you do not have to rush for the phone when you are lying down.
In all rooms, furniture, cords, and flooring can pose dangers. You can minimize the danger by rerouting electric cords and telephone wires so they are near walls and away from areas where you walk. Make sure that all rugs and mats are attached firmly to the floor and do not “bulge out” in any area. Make sure that walking surfaces are even and flat. Any slipper flooring surfaces – such as wood, concrete, or tile – should have no-slip strips attached. Any low furniture should be moved out of walking areas. Taller pieces of furniture should be firmly attached to the walls so that they do not tip over.