If you are like 90% of Australian seniors, you want to remain living in the comfort of your own home. One of the most common reasons seniors are admitted to hospital is due to falls, slips and injuries.
While these may not always be avoidable, there are many minor changes that can help with elderly injury prevention. Adopting these will ultimately safeguard your health and maintain your independence, living from home.
YOUR EVOLVING BODY
Our bodies change with age. While there are many ways you can stay mobile and active, it is important to be mindful that these changes will naturally occur and will likely affect your current, day to day living.
Common health problems can increase your susceptibility to falls. Strokes, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and dementia often reduce your ability to react quickly if you were to stumble. Weakening muscles, stiffer joints and unsteady balance also impact our range and level of movement.
These changes may be so gradual, that you only begin to notice them in times when it becomes increasingly difficult to get out of the armchair you’ve had for ten years. Or you trip over your welcome mat that’s been there since you’ve moved in, just because you don’t lift your feet as high as you used to when you walk.
Your home has not changed, however, it needs to, to complement your changing body.
YOUR EVOLVING HOME
Getting older doesn’t have to be as much about giving up as it is about being proactive and adapting. Even when falls are non-life-threatening, they can still cause injuries that greatly impact your mobility and independence.
By foreseeing potential hazards and making adjustments now, you increase the likelihood of remaining at home longer. Here are a few considerations to begin thinking about:
- Clothing: Avoid wearing long or loose clothing that may catch on corners or cause you to trip. Wear footwear that is fitted and has grip.
- Water Taps: Consider replacing any standard turn or screw taps with flick or lever taps for easier use
- Item Placement: Things that you previously stored up high, down low or out of sight may have to be relocated so you can easily access them without assistance.
- A well-maintained home: Most falls happen from standing height. The severity of the fall can be greatly increased if there is additional height or you hit something on the way down. A tidy home free of hazards, sharp corners and clutter can greatly reduce this risk.
There are many more things to consider when being proactive in safeguarding your independence – and you don’t have to do it alone.
If you require help with any modifications or want a more exhaustive list of ways you can prepare your home for safety, please see: A Guide To Living Safe & Sound At Home As You Age