Don’t Fall for Fall

Don’t Fall for Fall!

It may still be 100’F as we start September as I write this article but Fall is on its way, so I thought a piece on falls or rather not falling seems appropriate.

I meet a lot of people every week as I work with them to make their homes safer, but there is a common thread to conversations in relation to falls.

– I am returning home from a rehab center or hospital after a fall and cannot return home until I have safety changes made.
– I have fallen in the past and think it would be a good idea to look at what I might need.
– It’s not for me I am fine, just something in-case we have visitors or to keep my spouse safe.

In 2013 the CDC reported 2.5 Million non-fatal falls were treated in the emergency room with 750,000 requiring hospitalization. Of the 250,000 hip fractures in the same year 95% were from falls, falls impact quality of life, bank balance, family, overall health and in some cases longevity.

How do you reduce the risk of falling, as they always say the best defense is a good offense. Be proactive, saying you are fine even though you know it is harder to do things you used to do, is moving you further into the ‘going to fall category’. How many people in your circle do you know that have taken a tumble?

Here is a list of some of the items to think about and what I look for when I visit a home.
– Remove trip hazards, rugs, extension cords, clutter, small furniture, pet bowls, kids toys, etc…
– Keep hallways & walkways clear, put frequently used items in accessible places.
– Install handrails on stairs, entry ways both front and back of house, patio and garage.
– Is there enough light, install night lights particularly for the trips to the bathroom at night.
– Add grab bars in the shower/tub, by the toilet.
– Non slip mats, tape or coatings in the shower/tub.

Now you may be thinking you already have things that you use to steady yourself, or will be ok to grab if you do fall. If you fall your instinct is to grab the nearest thing to hand and these fixtures and fittings will most likely not live up to the task. Alternatively, that soap dish you hold onto in the corner of the shower may give way and be the cause of a fall.

Look at the list of items below and see if any of them look familiar, they fall into the list of things that should not be used in place of a real grab bar.

– Towel bars, shower rods/curtains, plumbing fittings, toilet tissue holders, shower doors, handheld shower glide bars, temporary soap/shampoo holders ………………
– And in its own category suction cup grab bars, they are cheap, they are convenient but when they un-suck and they will, you are typically relying on them to hold your weight. I always say they go wrong when you use them.