Preventing falls, part 2

The most common place for people aged over 65 to trip or fall is in the home. So, whether it’s slippery floors or a misplaced electrical cord, it pays to ensure that your home is safe for you and others.

There are some easy changes which can be made to reduce the risk.

Clean-up and de-clutter

Make sure the home is neat and tidy by removing all clutter, such as stacks of newspapers and magazines, cardboard boxes or excessive items in hallways and staircases.

Install grab rails and handrails

These types of safety devices are incredibly important – for stairs, in the bathroom next to the toilets, and going in and out of the house. Have a family member or handyman install these safety devices and ensure that they are maintained.

Review your entire home

Make sure you can safely and easily get to frequently used items around your home. Position these items between your shoulder and waist level, to eliminate the need for over-reaching or bending, or standing on a chair to get to things you can’t reach.

Repair or remove tripping hazards

Examine every room for loose carpet or floorboards, slippery rugs or other obstacles. Repair or replace those items and use non-slip mats.

Light up your home

Peter Keng, Occupational Therapist said: “Add lighting to inadequately lit areas – for example your internal hallway, a stairway and the basement. Ensure that there is adequate motion sensor lighting on the way to the bathroom to guide the way during nightly bathroom trips.”

Single level living

If it’s possible, try and live on one level, as stairs present one of the most hazardous obstacles. Move the bedroom downstairs, or install a stair lift for easier access to the second floor.

Try and stay as active as possible

It’s important to try and stay as strong and retain good balance for as long as possible. Ask a health care provider for some exercises or contact a community group.

The NSW Department of Health has produced a handy booklet which covers a range of tips and strategies for older people on the importance of remaining physically active and improving balance and strength. The booklet outlines the types of activities which promote balance and strength and exercises which can be performed in the home. Other topics covered include healthy eating, medication, and knowing what to do in the event of a fall.  Health and lifestyle and home safety checklists can be used to assess a person’s risk of having a fall.

Visit the Active and Healthy website for more information and to download the falls prevention resource. The NSW Health website also includes a video on home-based balance and strength exercises.

Oxley Home Care is an award-winning, nationally accredited family owned and operated business, based on Sydney’s northern beaches.

For the last decade, Oxley Home Care has been providing in-home care to enable people – regardless of their age – to remain living independently in their own home throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area. Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and holds an allocation of Home Care Packages. These packages are designed to provide assistance to the elderly to remain living at home.

Oxley Home Care’s mission is to empower people; regardless if they are frail or aged, by providing quality services specifically tailored to meet their individual needs.

Our care philosophy focuses on Consumer Directed Care (CDC), a philosophy designed to empower you to make informed decisions about the type of care and support services you believe best meet your needs.

To gain access to a Home Care Package, the Government requires that you undergo a comprehensive assessment by your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To arrange the assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care website. Please also feel free to call Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.

Gilian Douglass

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