Making Your Home Less Hazardous to Your Health

As fall approaches I can’t help but turn my attention to fall prevention for my patients. September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month and National Fall Prevention Awareness Day is celebrated on the first day of fall, September 23rd, 2014. Did you know that age we age our likelihood of falling goes up and that 1 of 3 adults over 65 falls each year? Many of those who fall are seriously injured and become disabled.

Although it’s great that there is a month and day devoted to increasing awareness about falls in seniors, I’ve made it part of daily care for my senior patients. Particularly because I’m a Seattle podiatrist I make it my business to tell my patients to be cautious when the rains start to come down. However, even though we Seattleites often have to tiptoe around to avoid slipping outside, the truth is our indoor environment can be much more hazardous to our health. Homes can be like an obstacle course.

Here are some fall prevention tips for the home recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to help you or a loved one reduce their fall risk. We provide this list to all our patients who participate in our “In Balance” Fall Prevention Program. Use this checklist like a detective as you walk through your house or through the house of a loved one.

  • Check the floors in every room – make sure there is a clear path through the house; look for and eliminate loose cords or wires, magazines or books, or other hazards that could easily cause someone to trip.
  • Check stairs inside your home and steps outside home – keep steps clear of shoes, books, and other objects; make sure that carpet is not loose but firmly tacked down, ensure that steps are solid and repair those that aren’t; and install hand rails where needed.
  • Check your kitchen to make sure objects used frequently are within easy reach. Purchase a step stool for reaching hard to get items.
  • Have grab bars installed inside the tub and next to the toilet. Make sure that bathtub floor is non-slip or have non-slip surface applied.
  • Use night lights to make trips to the bathroom visible and put lamps within easy reach of the bed.

If you think you or a loved one is at risk for falling, call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.