FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES or Any ADULT
Falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in adults over the age of 65 years.
New or unfamiliar surroundings, improper footwear, cumbersome furniture arrangements and distractions all can cause a person to accidentally stumble and fall, causing serious injury and even death.
However, implementing a few prevention practices at home can decrease a person’s risk of an unnecessary fall.
What can a person do to prevent falling?
- Do not walk and talk at the same time. Concentrate on the task of walking and continue the conversation after you’ve reached a safe place.
- Wear appropriate footwear. When walking long distances or in unfamiliar areas, wear flat, nonslip shoes. Also wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable.
- Arrange furniture so that it creates plenty of room to walk freely. If you use a walking aid, ensure that doorways and hallways are large enough to get through with any devices you may use.
- Install railings in hallways and grab bars in the bathroom and shower to prevent slipping.
- Be sure you have adequate lighting throughout your house.
- Install nonslip strips or a rubber mat on the floor of the tub or shower.
- Remove throw rugs or secure them firmly to the floor.
- Use caution when carrying items while walking.
- Use a nightlight when getting out of bed at night.
- Stay active to maintain overall strength and endurance.
- Know your limitations. If there is a task you cannot complete with ease, do not risk a fall by trying to complete it.
Home safety tips to minimize the risk of falling
As we get older, items in our home that used to be virtually harmless start to pose a greater risk. Carpets, stairs, floors – even pets can be dangerous. The good news is that many falls can be prevented.
Visit each room in your home.
Look at the space objectively and ask yourself: Is this safe? Would that make me trip? What can I do to the room so I don’t have to worry about falling? Look at the common safety issues and solutions below.
Overall safety issues
- All areas of my home are well lit
- Improve lighting with light-sensitive nightlights and/or motion detector lights that turn on automatically
- My floor coverings are in good repair
- Repair torn/worn carpeting and linoleum
- Secure throw rugs with double-sided tape or no-slip rug pads. Or remove the throw rugs entirely.
- Replace shag carpet with low pile
- The main walking areas are free of obstacles
- Rearrange furniture to allow a clear path
- Keep plants, tables, etc., along walls or in corners
- Clean up clutter
- All my phone and electric cords are out of the way
- Remove all cords from walkways
- The room is set up to help avoid stumbles
- Create a safe path around the room by rearranging furniture
- Clean up shoes, clothing, and other clutter
- Keep bedding tucked in
- My light can be turned on & off without getting up out of bed
- Place a lamp or nightlight within reach of the bed
- Install a nightlight
- My tub, shower and toilet have sturdy grab bars
- Install grab bars next to your tub, shower, and toilet. (Towel racks don’t count-they can pull out of the wall.)
- The floor of my bathroom, my tub, and/or my shower have non-slip surfaces
- Place non-slip mats or strips in the tub or on the shower floor
- Add two-sided carpet tape to keep a bathroom rug in place
- My shower is designed to reduce risk of falls
- Add a sturdy shower seat
- Add a hand-held shower head with hose
- My toilet is at a comfortable height
- Consider installing an elevated toilet seat
- I have nightlights in the bathroom to help me see
- Get a light-sensitive nightlight that turns on automatically
- The floor is designed to reduce the risk of tripping
- Place a rubber mat in front of the sink
- Repair rough flooring
- The items I use most often are easy to reach
- Move the items you use most often to lower cabinets and drawers
- Use a step stool to reach items in high cabinets
- All my stairways have handrails on both sides
- Install handrails for both hands-even on short sets of steps
- The steps are slip-resistant and in good repair
- Attach carpet securely; repair any holes
- If steps are bare wood, add slip-resistant pads
- Visibility is good on all my stairways and landings
- Install motion detector lighting
- Install light switches at both top and bottom of stairs
- Add contrasting paint or glow-in-the-dark tape to edges of stairs to make them easier to see
- The stairway is kept clear
- Patrol your stairs regularly to make sure all objects are removed at all times
- My walkways are well lit
- Install improved lighting
- Add motion and/or light-detection lights that turn on automatically
- My stairs and walkways have non-slip surfaces
- Paint steps with a non-slip coating
- Arrange for regular removal of leaves and snow
- Repair broken stairs
- Add handrails to all stairs
- The walkways are clear of clutter and hazards
- Move objects from the pathway
- Trim any shrubs or branches that hang into the walkway
Still want some added security? Consider having a back-up plan by bringing your physical therapist at home to do en evaluation for your safety.
Physical Therapy to Prevent Falls and treat Pain
Sometimes pain treatment can be accomplished through physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT) involves the treatment, healing, and prevention of injuries or disabilities. PT helps to relieve pain, promote healing, and restore function and movement.
PT is practiced by a professionally trained physical therapist under the referral of a doctor. A physical therapist is a specialist skilled and educated specifically in proper rehabilitation for patients at home.
How Is Physical Therapy Used to Treat Pain?
A therapist may focus on decreasing pain with either passive or active therapy. Examples of passive physical therapy include:
- Heat/ice packs
- TENS units
Examples of active physical therapy include:
- Strengthening exercises
- Pain relief exercises
- Low-impact aerobic conditioning
Points to Consider
An important aspect to keep in mind about physical therapy is that each individual is different and may respond differently to therapy. People have different types of bodies, different patterns of movement, different alignments, and different habits. Physical therapists and their trained staff can monitor each individual and attempt to correct improper habits, alignments and movement patterns.
Physical Therapy addresses the musculoskeletal aspects of chronic pain problems. When PT is ordered, a thorough evaluation is performed by therapists who have years of practical experience with people of all ages, all diagnoses and disabilities. Following the evaluation, an individualized treatment plan is developed, incorporating manual therapy, pain-relieving modalities, and an easy, effective exercise program.
Our clients are an important part of our pain-management team; at each visit we discuss status, review strategies, work on unresolved problems and progress the program appropriately. We help clients integrate exercises and functional changes into their life, giving them specific helpful information to meet daily demands and reduce pain.
1st Accredited Home Care LLC. therapists have specific expertise in treating:
- Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease
- Back and Neck Strain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow; Golfer’s Elbow)
- Foot & Knee Pain/Fasciitis
- Low Back Pain
- Pelvic Pain
- Repetitive Trauma Syndrome
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Shoulder/Arm Problems
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
- Tension Headaches/Migraines
- Vertigo/ Balance Problems
- Work Injuries / Work Comp Rehabilitation
For More Information:
If you would like to consult a physical and/or occupational therapist about making your home safer, practitioners are available any time. Just give us a call: 954-961-1698. Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental and behavioral conditions. Practitioners also help patients in wellness techniques that may prevent injury.