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How to Make Your House Fall Proof

How to Make Your House Fall Proof

It’s a frightening fact: Each year, one-fourth of all persons age 65 to 74 and one-third or more of those age 75 and older report having fallen[1].  About two-thirds of older people who fall suffer another fall within the next 6 months, and this can lead to psychological  fears of being left alone.  This pain related fear can only make things worse.

An elderly woman struggles getting down the stairs
Fear of Falling

Approximately 15% of falls result in physical injury serious enough to warrant medical attention [2]

A Man Haven Fallen Down The Stairs
Falling Down The Stairs

Once more, 5 to 10% of these lead to serious injuries (eg, head and soft tissue trauma and musculoskeletal sprains) and the remaining 3 to 5% resulting in bone fractures.[3]

That’s a lot of people with  a balance problem, isn’t it?

And yet most people completely ignore these statistics. They just don’t want to think about the possibility of a   catastrophic fall  happening to them or a loved one. But just ask the large number of  people who are  affected by this mobility problem, and they’ll tell you that it can and does happen. And they’ll also tell you the best thing you can do is be prepared.

That’s what this post  is about.

In just moments you’ll find out how to protect yourself or a loved one from becoming a statistic. Read on…

Fall Proofing Home to Stop Fear of Falling


Falls often lead to a fear of falling. This is bad news in terms of one’s recovery because such fear can   decrease mobility and independence particularly if an older person loses confidence in the ability to perform activities. Up to 50% of those who have fallen admit to avoiding activities because of fear of further falls or injury.[4]

How Pain Related Fear Worsens Condition

In terms of back pain, this means pain related fear makes  one not go outdoors unless accompanied by another person and perhaps limit the number of baths he or she takes, because the  bathtub is “too dangerous.”

The Benefits of Eliminating Pain Related Fear

If one can lessen  or eliminate his or her pain related fear to falling, then he or she will be inclined to engage  in physical activities  that will improve their  condition. Making  your house fall proof will go a long way in establishing  confidence that will lessen pain related fear.

Tips to Stop Falling and Deal With Pain Related Fear

Here Are Some of  the Things you can do to fall proof your  house. They may  reduce the hazards that can cause a loved one to  fall at night on their  trips to the bathroom, or just making their  way around the house when you are not there.

Eliminate Lighting Problems. Imagine your poor mom, dad, or other elderly relative rushing out of bed and having to deal with a bedroom and narrow  hallway that are poorly illuminated. This greatly increases a chance of a fall. Make sure there is easy access to switches or lamps in the rooms or hallway. I am constantly checking the light bulbs in the hallway to ensure that mom, who suffers from back, pain has no problems reaching the bathroom.

Decrease Light Glare. The opposite problem of having not enough light is obviously having too much light. Lighting glare can make elderly people dizzy. Eliminate glare from light bulbs by using light shades or bulbs. In addition to those steps, you can do the following:

1. Replace Sliding Throw Rugs. That’s exactly what  I did when Mom almost  took a spill like she was on an ice rink. If you can’t bring yourself  to get rid of the rug because it has some sentimental  value—hey, it happens—you can tape a nonskid pad underneath.

2. Get Rid of The Slippery Steps to Steps. Let’s face it. For elderly people with a balance problem, steps can be dangerous.  Apply nonskid threads.  They can also save you from landing on your butt.

3. Make Shower floor Safer. Replace slippery mat on  tub   with a nonskid rubber floor for tub.

4.Use a Reacher  Device. You don’t want mom or dad, with their  bad back, standing on an unstable chair or stool in order to get something beyond their reach.

5.Tape Down All Carpet Curling. The last thing you want is for mom or dad to get their  foot caught in one of those annoying carpet curls that just won’t stay down. Hey, it might save you from falling—just saying.

6.Apply  Color Tape For Better Visibility. Hey, you can’t take a stop sign to mom and dad when you want them to avoid a carpet in repair.  That would be so uncool not to mention disrespectful. However, you can use color contrasting tape to let them be aware of any potential  problem. Do it.

7.Replace The Armless chair Armrest.Provide chairs that give more support.

8.Low Toilet Seat. Replace the too low toilet seat with an elevated seat.

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It’s time for your loved ones to stop having a fear of falling.  For more information                           

 

 

I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

 

Conclusion

As you can imagine, falls have a devastating psychological  impact on the whole family. The sight of finding a loved one lying on the bathroom floor is very stressing. To make things worse, often the family member who has fallen develops a fear of falling and begins to restrict his or her activities. The unhelpful avoidance  of movement and activities may only prolong the recovery. The aim of this post was to give tips on eliminating  the fear of falling, and make it possible for a loved one who has suffered a fall to have the confidence to assume daily  activities that can aid healing.  There is also preliminary evidence that pain- related fear predicts new back pain episodes in pain-free people. So there is reason for all of us to understand the impact that pain related fear has on our ability to recover from injury.

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References

  1. Tinetti ME, Speechley M, Ginter SF. Risk factors for falls among elderly persons. N Engl J Med 1988; 319:1701-7.

2

Ibid

3  Nevitt MC, Cummings SR, Kidd S, Black D. Risk factors for recurrent falls: A prospective study. JAMA 1989; 261:2663-8.

4

Rachman, S. (1998). Anxiety. Psychological Press, Hove.

5

Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 30, No. 1, February 2007 (⃝C 2006) DOI: 10.1007/s10865-006-9085-0

18 thoughts on “How to Make Your House Fall Proof

  1. Hello there Thabo,
    I am back!! LOL
    Like I said, I love your website and the information and sure;y, I love this article that you have written. You have given some simple yet helpful tips to make your house and the life of ANYONE a better way to go!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for coming back. I’m so glad you found this post useful.

  2. Hello Thabo, such a thorough and helpful article on the fear of falling. And for those who live alone it is truly a worry. And it is so good as you said to know what kind of fear we are experiencing to work through it and not hold on to it. In peace and gratitude, ariel

    1. Ariel,
      You are right that people need to work through their fear of falling. Fear of falling can cause people to restrict their activities and thus prolong their recovery. I’m glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for checking in.

  3. This is vital information! Many people with elders at home figure this out only after something bad has happened.
    Thanks for pointing these factors out for your readers!

    1. Dianne,
      I’m glad that you found this information helpful. Yes, it’s much better to prepare and prevent falls and not wait for tragedy to happen. I hope this post serves as a wake up call for those taking care of elder parents. Thanks for checking in.

  4. I think you raise a really important issue here. I am talking to more seniors who are looking at CBD oil as a post trauma treatment and its wonderful for that, but really the thing to do is not have trauma in the first place. I recently read research that found your level of balance is an indicator of age so you could potentially have the balance of a 70 yr old at 40 and the reverse. I now pay more attention to balance exercises at the gym.

    1. Hi Dr. Dough,
      Thanks for your insightful and helpful comment. I think you’re really on target when you talk about everyone paying more attention to balance exercises at the gym. Once more, falling is often a leading predictor of heart attacks in the elderly because it’s a sign that something is not right with the homeostasis state of the body. Thanks for checking in.

  5. It was not so long ago that my Mother had a fall while she was at home.

    She was alone as everyone else had other commitments at the time, and she really hurt herself.

    It is easy to overlook certain challenges in the home when we are younger, and we can forget that older people may find things more testing.

    Stairs are a perfect example of this.

    I love this site. It is very helpful.

    Thank you

    Chris

    1. Yes, when you’re young it is very easy to overlook conditions in the house that can result in a fall. When dealing with older people we need to be more vigilant. I’m glad that you found this post useful.

  6. Thabo,
    Since I live with an older person, we have taken all of the steps already. This is a big concern for me also as I am in my mid 60’s. I use the reacher all the time. Safety is a major concern for older adults when living alone, should have someone check on them daily by phone or in person.
    John

    1. Hi, John. Your comment cuts to the gist of the matter. Safety indeed is a major concern for older adults when living alone. Yes, someone should definitely check on them by phone or in person. Very good point. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to the post.

  7. Great post Thabo, some really good information for all of us to know about not only with aging, but the disabled. I like all the tips you give.

    1. Thanks, Fred. That means a lot to me as I’m a big fan of your website. I think you’re correct when you say that all of us should be more aware of steps that we can take to protect ourselves from falling. Thanks for checking in.

  8. The first thing that pops into my head is you will spend the first few years of life trying to overcome a fear of falling. This eventually happens as you learn to walk, ride a bike, and run around.

    Then there is the irony of needing to make your own house fall proof as you age so that you don’t fall. Hurting yourself in ways that your mind spent so much time and energy removing from you.

    This definitely makes me think ahead and play for a residence without stairs but also more safety steps for my loved ones. Thanks for the tips. Eric.

    1. Hi, Eric. I enjoyed reading your feedback.Thanks for the though- Provoking insights, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad you found the post helpful.

  9. Safety around the house is so important as we age. I am always doing balance exercises for this very reason. It builds strength. We all lose muscle as we age, especially women and I don’t understand why we don’t try harder to stay strong.
    These are some great tips to make a home safer. I hope everyone who reads this takes your advice.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      As I have become a caregiver for an elderly mother with chronic back pain, safety around the house has become a big issue for me. Also, I unfortunately know friends whose loved one took a catastrophic fall that resulted in serious injury or death. I’m trying to help others avoid a similar tragedy. I’m glad you found my post valuable. Thanks for checking in.

      Thabo

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