“Prevention is better than cure” and whilst having a stairlift installed in your home will certainly make life easier, it is vital to take additional steps in preventing falls in the elderly by optimising your safety at home.
There are many ways you can reduce your risk of having a fall, including making simple changes to your home and doing exercises to improve your strength and balance.
Every year more than one in three (3.4 million) people over 65 suffer a fall at home, however falling is not an inevitable part of ageing. With the right knowledge and support, older people can stay active and prevent a fall from occurring.
Tips for preventing falls in the home include:
- eliminating clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
- opting for non-slip mats and rugs
- using high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches to improve visibility
- organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum, and to avoid bumping into things
- enlisting assistance to do things you’re unable to do safely on your own
- not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
- wearing well-fitting shoes that support the ankle
- looking after your feet by trimming your toenails regularly and visiting GP or chiropodist about any foot issues
- wiping up spillages straight away
Strength and balance training
According to a recent Age UK article, people in later life should undertake physical activities to improve muscle strength at least twice a week. Incorporating regular strength exercises and balance exercises into your routine can improve your strength and balance, and reduce your overall risk of having a fall.
Simple activities such as walking and dancing, or specialist training programmes have been proven to be highly successful fall prevention strategies. You may even like to try some gentle yoga or tai chi, renowned for enhancing balance and coordination.
Many community centres and local gyms offer expert training programmes for older people which also demonstrate exercises that you can also do at home. Seated stretches and exercises are easy to do and are a fuss-free way of keeping fit.
Get in touch with your local GP about training programmes on offer in your area.
Have your medication reviewed
If you have been taking long-term medication, your GP should assess your medicines at least once a year to make sure they’re still an appropriate choice for you.
Get your eyesight checked
Make an appointment to have a sight test if you’re concerned that poor vision is increasing your potential to have a fall.
Consider a home visit from a Falls Prevention Co-ordinator
There are some wonderful local services which elderly people at risk of falling can access. The Falls Prevention Project by Age UK works to reduce the number of people who need to attend the A&E department because they have fallen in their homes. A Falls Prevention Co-ordinator makes home visits and will discuss concerns about falls in the home with you and their possible causes. Alterations that are agreed with the Falls Prevention Co-ordinator are provided free of charge. The service is open to anyone who feels that an older person is at risk of falling or has fallen previously. You can find out if this service operates in your area by visiting the Age UK website.
Making just a few simple changes can make a massive difference to your safety at home. In conjunction with our specialist stairlift service, you can rest assured that you have taken the appropriate action to move safely and comfortably around your home, and have played a role in preventing falls in the elderly.
Halton Stairlifts would be delighted to provide a no-obligation quote to anyone curious about installing a stairlift. If you’re concerned about your loved ones stair safety speak to the team on 0800 644 7766 to find out whether a stairlift is the best solution for you.