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9/16/16 2:24 PM

There are many modifications and changes that you can make around your home to lower the risk for falls. Here are are a few ideas!

  • Clutter: Pick up all unnecessary objects that are lining your hallways and stairs. These are tripping hazards! A clear path allows you to move freely and turn around without anything getting under your feet.

  • Night Lights: Do you rely on your vision for good balance? At night, vision is limited because of darkness and your chance for falling increases. Especially when you're rushing out of bed to get to the bathroom! Use night lights to light a path to the room light or to the bathroom so you can see where you are going safely.

  • Chairs on Wheels: Is your dining room chair or desk chair on wheels? If so, don't use that chair! Wheelchairs have brakes on them for a reason. They can slide behind you when you go to sit down or try to stand up. It is always a smarter option to sit in a sturdy chair that won't roll, slide or tip so that you are safe if you have a little balance loss.

  • Grab Bars: Do you have any grab bars in your house? Think about adding some to the areas in your home where you test your balance. A good place is on the wall to step into your home or between rooms. Another important place is in your shower. Hardware stores and drug stores are a good place to find grab bars. Install a railing (or two) to improve stability on stairs.

  • Throw rugs: They look nice, but get rid of them! A large number of falls in the home are because people trip over the corner of their rugs. The risk increases if you are using a walker.

  • Outdoors: Do you have a walker or cane? Use it outdoors! Sidewalks, driveways and lawns are all unsteady. There are often cracks, bumps, holes and hills that challenge your balance. Rain, snow and ice add a slippery factor. Have you ever gone for a walk or shopping and went a little further than you should have? In the home you know where a chair is for a rest break. In the community you are often forced to walk a greater distance. Take you walker or cane with you as they can help to conserve energy and keep you steady.

  • Life Alert or Cell Phone: You have a Life Alert? Great! Now do you wear it or keep it on the dresser? It is always a good idea to keep you life alert button or a cell phone on you so you are able to contact others if you fall. Especially when doing activities that challenge balance such as bathing or gardening.

These are small changes that can have a large impact on your safety. Don’t wait, make these changes today!

Written by Courtney Ryer, PT.

Courtney is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office.