Preventing Accidental Falls

Especially among senior citizens, accidental falls can be prevented. BSO's Department of Fire Rescue offers this advice:

Exercise Regularly

Reduce your chances of falling by beginning and maintaining a regular exercise program. Exercise makes you stronger, helps you feel better and improves balance and coordination. Non-strenuous exercise like Tai Chi can be very beneficial. Ask your doctor or health care worker about the best type of exercise program for you.

Make your Home Safer

About half of all accidental falls happen at home, so remove tripping hazards (papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.

In the Bathroom:

  • Install and use grab bars to get into and out of the tub or shower
  • Use a bath chair or stool in the shower
  • Don't use throw rugs or wax on the bathroom floor. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors
  • Use a raised toilet seat with arm rails
  • Use soap-on-a-rope or place a bar of soap in a nylon stocking with one end tied to a towel bar

In the Kitchen:

  • Use a long-handled sponge/mop to wipe up spills
  • Keep your floors smooth but not slippery
  • Store your often-used supplies in easy-to-reach cabinets
  • Avoid hard-to-reach wall phones; consider a table model or a cordless phone that can be carried from room to room

Around the House:

  • Use nightlights for hallways and bathrooms; make certain stairways well-lit
  • Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes with nonskid soles. Don't walk around in socks, slippers or stockings on bare floors
  • Make sure carpets, including those on stairs, have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor
  • Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Lamp shades or frosted bulbs can reduce glare
  • Have handrails put on all staircases

Have your doctor or pharmacist examine the medicines you take (including ones that don't need prescriptions such as cold medicines). As you get older, the way some medicines work in your body can change and make you drowsy or light-headed.

Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision.

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