Sidestep the cost of a fall at home
Imagine the cost of a new hip, or a concussion with possible long-term damage, or a rotator cuff tear, or replacing your front teeth. Then imagine that these costs could have been avoided by attending to a few simple household changes. For aging boomers facing staggering health costs, avoiding a fall could mean the difference between comfort and just scraping by.
According to Netwellness, one in three 65-year-old women will suffer a fall; after 85, half will. 31% of men between 80-84 will fall. At least a third of all falls are caused by home hazards. A serious fall can trigger a cascade of other problems, including immobility that could drive the fallen out of his/her home.
Fortunately, some simple steps can dramatically reduce the likelihood of a hazard-caused fall. Keep in mind that, as we age, our eyesight isn't as sharp, our legs aren't as strong, and our sense of balance can be compromised.
- Fix sidewalks and driveway to remove holes and irregular surfaces
- Install handrails
- Take out high thresholds
- Trim back shrubbery along the walk
- Clear snow and ice
- Denote changes in floor level by using different colors of rugs, carpets, etc.
- Securely fasten rugs to the floor
- Have a phone extension in every room, with emergency numbers handy
- Reduce clutter, crowded furniture
- Install nightlights or motion detector lights
- Grab bars in the tub and beside the toilet
- Non-stick appliques in the tub
- Raised toilet seat
- Non-skid mats in wet areas
- Keep commonly used supplies at arm's reach
- Have a sturdy step stool with handrails for reaching top shelves
- Avoid floor polish
- Have a working fire extinguisher at hand
- Remove casters from furniture
- Adjust height of bed to ease entry/exit
- Error on the side of too much light
- Use colored tape on the edge of stairs, and replace any that are of unstandard height.
Take a little time, spend a little money adapting your environment and save yourself grief and great expense. If you'd do it for your children, why wouldn't you do it for yourself?