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Fear of Falling: Steps You Can Take to Avoid Injury

Senior Falling on StairsFalls are the number one cause of injury for older Americans, affecting more than 25 percent of seniors each year. Avoiding these potentially-serious injuries can be aided through the installation of a stair lift, though there are many other things that you can do to keep your stairs safe.

It’s a “seriously and costly” problem, as the Centers for Disease Control says on its website, with the nationwide fatality rate from accidental falls on the rise. It’s something worth thinking about if you’re getting older, or if you have loved ones who are senior citizens.

According to the CDC:

  • Twenty percent of all falls lead to a serious injury: broken bones or head trauma.
  • Nearly three million older people are treated in emergency rooms for falls each year.
  • More than 800,000 people are hospitalized each year due to a fall. This is typically due to head injuries or hip fractures, which affect at least 300,000 senior citizens every year.
  • More than 95 percent of hip fractures are the result of a fall, usually a sideways fall.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
  • We spend $31 billion a year treating fall injuries.
  • Falling once can double your chances of falling again.
  • Many people who fall develop a fear of falling. This may cause them to become less active, which makes them weaker and increases their risk of falling.

This all sounds dire, but there are steps you can take to prevent falls. Here are some things you can do if you’re concerned about falling in your home.

1. Get rid of clutter

One of the simplest ways to prevent falling in your home is to keep things tidy. Get rid of anything that’s cluttering your pathways – especially stairs and hallways – such as old newspapers and magazines.

2. Keep your shoes on

We recognize that socks are comfy, but they can cause you to slip. If keeping your shoes on all day seems too uncomfortable, invest in some non-slip socks that have grips on the soles.

3. Avoid loose clothing

This is another situation where safety must overrule comfort. Baggy clothing can make you more likely to fall, so you may want to choose better-fitting clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the floor when you walk.

4. Invest in non-slip surfaces

Bathtubs, showers, and wet floors can all present fall hazards. Putting down non-slip mats can help you avoid a potentially deadly fall.

5. Remove tripping hazards

Take a close look at each of your rooms and hallways for things like loose carpeting and rugs or uneven floorboards. Repairing or replacing these problems can help you prevent a fall.

6. Let there be light

Another way to prevent falling in your home is to make sure things are well-lit. Install brighter lightbulbs, particularly in narrow hallways and at stairways. You may also want to add nightlights to your bedroom and bathrooms to help at night.

7. Handrails and grab bars

These are key safety measures to help you get in and out of the bath, on and off the toilet or up and down stairs without injury. You can also install handrails in your hallways as an added precaution.

8. Take your time

Moving more carefully can help you avoid falling in your home. Getting up too quickly can lead to a fall, so take a moment when you go from sitting to standing, or from lying down to sitting.

9. Avoid the stairs

Stairs can present a significant safety hazard for senior citizens. Some experts advise limiting the number of trips you take, or trying to live on one floor.

But limiting yourself to a single level of your home may not always be feasible. If that’s the case, you may want to invest in a stair lift to help you get from floor to floor.

Installing a stair lift is a good way to reduce your risk of falling while also maintaining your independence. A stair lift – also known as a chair lift – will allow you to stay in your home and avoid having to make serious and expensive renovations (putting in another bathroom, turning a downstairs room into your new bedroom).

If you’re interested in installing a stair lift in your home, contact Pennsylvania Stair Lifts today. We’ll be happy to help you make your home a safer place.

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