By 2031, injuries related to falls will cost $4.4 billion.
At least one senior visits an emergency department every 10 minutes because of a fall; every 30 minutes at least one is admitted to hospital, according to a 2007 report by the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre.
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates one in three people older than 65 will fall at least once a year, a rate that increases to one in two for people over the age of 80. This means about 1.3 million Canadian seniors will fall this year. In 2006, almost half of all injury-related deaths among seniors in Canada were caused by falls.
Most serious falls occur around the home, and can be life-changing. To help maintain your independence, it’s vital to understand the ways you can protect yourself from falls. Here are a few precautions to ensure safety and reduce your risk of falling at home.
- Stairways – Make sure all handrails are not broken and are securely fastened. Both sides of the steps should have handrails.
- Floors and rugs – Make sure all floor boards are even and rugs, including area rugs, are secured to the floor with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape. Use non-skid floor wax.
- Bathroom – Be sure that you can move safely in bathroom area, and in and out of the tub or shower.
- Remove soap build-up in tub or shower on a regular basis.
- Place non-slip strips in bath/shower.
- Install adjustable height shower heads.
- Mount grab bars at the toilet, bath and shower on walls with secure reinforcements, to prevent the bars from coming loose.
- Secure bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape
- Kitchen – Items that you use frequently, such as dishes and food items should be easy to reach. If you have to use a step stool, make sure that it has a bar at the top to hold on to.
- Lighting – Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Place a lamp (and telephone) near your bed.
- Keep lighting uniform in each room and add lighting to dark spaces
- All Rooms – Check whether hallways and rooms have obstacles to safe movement.
- Move newspapers, boxes, electrical and phone cords, plants, and furniture out of traffic areas.
- Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can reach them comfortably.
- Outside of your home – Repair holes and uneven joints on walkways.
- Arrange to have leaves, snow, and ice removed from stairs and walkways. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.
- Make sure outside lighting is working in entryways and other walk areas.
- Check that handrails are not broken and are securely fastened. Both sides of steps should have handrails.
Have you done a safety check in your own home lately? Falls prevention is crucial for maintaining independence and safety at home.
To learn if your home is fall proof and would like a safety checkup, please call CalaCare at 1-888-774-CALA (2252).