|Gain some control over your environment. Balance, movement, and exercise help us to control some of the internal causes of falling, but we can all take the following simple steps to reduce the external risks of falling.
It is very important to have good lighting around your home.
Always turn on lights before going into a room, even if you are only going in for a moment.
Move slowly when lighting is dim. Give your eyes time to adjust before proceeding between well-lit and dark areas.
Replace any burned out bulbs immediately; repair cords and fixtures.
Night-lights are inexpensive and invaluable in contributing to visibility at night, particularly in stairwells, hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Night-lights or remote-control switches by the bedside are a good precaution. Keep a flashlight next to your bed in case of a power failure.
Make sure indoor and outdoor walkways are properly illuminated, especially at night. Don’t overlook stairways, cellar areas, garages, storage rooms, or outdoor sheds. Have switches installed at both top and bottom of stairways.
A pull chain on a light is much easier to operate than other types of turn or push light switches.
Carpeting, particularly on stairs, provides additional cushioning to reduce the risk of injury if you should fall.
Carpeting should be securely fastened down with double-sided tape or carpet tacks. Repair holes in carpeting, get rid of frayed rugs, and avoid throw rugs they can bunch up or slide. If your rug has a non-skid backing, vacuum the backing often because dirt keeps the non-skid finish from gripping the floor.
Place bright, contrasting colored tape on the top and bottom steps of stairways. This serves as a constant reminder to BE CAREFUL. Change the colors periodically so you won’t become oblivious to the tape.
Keep walkways clear of miscellaneous or misplaced objects, especially electrical and telephone cords. Tape cords to the floor or wall; tie up extra cord with a rubber band, or coil it up inside an empty toilet paper tube.
Don’t take shortcuts off established walkways; they can be dangerous. Take the pathway provided and make sure you can see where you are going.
Clean up all spills immediately, because a foot can slip easily on even a little spill, a little food on the floor, or a grease spot.
Install and use tightly fastened grab bars in the bath tub, and on the wall next to the tub or shower, when possible. Enter and exit a shower or tub slowly and carefully. Securely carpet all surfaces that might get wet or slippery.
Install non-slip strips or non-skid mats in the bath tub or shower. (Now there are non-slip treatments available for bath tubs and floors.)
Always test the tub or shower water to make sure it is not too hot, so that you do not make a quick reactive movement and lose your balance.
Sit on the side of the tub while lifting legs into the tub. When leaving the tub, make sure one foot is firmly on the floor and you feel in balance before lifting the other foot out.
Use a flexible shower hose. A hand-held shower can make bathing easier.
Wear footwear with soles and heels that provide good support and traction between your feet and the surface you walk on, especially when you venture onto snow or ice. Friction helps prevent falls.
Avoid wearing only socks or smooth-soled shoes or slippers on stairs, wood, or waxed floors. They make it easy to slip.
Wet, Slippery, Unfamiliar, or Uneven Surfaces
Point your feet outward slightly, and maintain a steady pace.
Pay attention to the surface you are walking on: be alert for ice, snow, wet or dry leaves, moss-covered stone paths or steps.
Keep your hands out of your pockets and free to help you with better balance. If you have to carry a bag of groceries, make sure your other hand is free.
When walking on slippery or uneven surfaces, lean forward slightly, relax your knees, and take shorter steps to keep your center of balance under you. You may prefer to "shuffle" your steps, keeping each foot flat on the ground. Falls occur whenever you move too far off your center of balance far enough to cause a fall.