I’d like to bring up a very important subject today,… fall prevention.
A friend recently suffered a broken leg in her living room. She got her foot tangled in a telephone cord, and fell. She fractured her leg badly, but fortunately her husband quickly called an ambulance for her. But her recovery will take months.
A fall can happen anywhere. According to experts, falls are the leading cause of death for people over 65. Think about that for a minute. It’ll make you look to see what’s lying around on your floor!
Here’s more – Falls are the most common cause of visits to emergency rooms.
And this one – Statistics state that 31% of falls occur in living rooms.
Do you wonder why falls would commonly occur in living rooms? I think it’s because that’s where seniors relax and spend time. It’s a place they are familiar with, and where their attention is most likely to be on the television, the computer, visitors, the telephone, pets or family members.
We aren’t alert because it’s a familiar and comfortable environment and our focus is not on hazard which might cause a fall.
Your living room is likely to be your “landing zone” after a meal, or after a long day. It’s the place where you “land” on the chair or couch and get busy with things like the phone, the TV, the computer, your book, or mail. Lots of things “land” in the living room too. It’s likely to be a cluttered place, with tables and couches full of remotes, magazines, paperwork, mail, eyeglasses, craft projects, coffee cups, etc.
Take some time for fall prevention in your living room today. Just a few minutes every day of clearing the traffic path and your “landing zone” in your living room could make a difference. Getting your home evaluated for safety by an Occupational Therapist or other health care professional is always best.
Here are some points to remember when you’re preparing your comfort room;
- Talk to your doctor if you have concerns with mobility or balance.
- Clear the runway. Get those shoes, pets’ toys, kids’ toys and stuff out of your traffic pattern. Find another place to put them, maybe in a container, out of the traffic pattern.
- Remove loose rugs and tack down loose carpet corners.
- Put the land-line phone and its cord in a place that will not be in a traffic pattern. Put the phone near the plug and put a chair nearby, so you won’t be stepping near the cord. Or, use a cordless phone or a cell phone.
- Rule for using the vacuum cleaner, the fan, the heater, any plug-in appliance: If you plug it in, unplug it after you use it, and put the item away. Don’t leave electric cords littering the traffic pattern.
- Use a chair pocket and put your eyeglasses, remote, tissues, cell phone, and other commonly used items inside the pocket. If necessary, use a reacher for items on tables around you.
- Improve the lighting around your area. Keep a night light on at night.
- Slow down, look around when standing and sitting. Take time to balance yourself when you rise from a chair and when you sit down to reduce dizziness.
Fall prevention is important. It’s worth few minutes a day to clear your special space to make it safer for you and everyone you care about.