Avoiding falls in the home
Most of us have probably heard the old adage “most accidents take place in the home” and unfortunately that’s true.
The chances of falling increase dramatically as you get older and less mobile, with falls in the home affecting over a third of people aged 65 and 40% of people over 80[i]. If your parent or loved one has had a fall or has had a near-miss, it might be time to assess their living space to make sure it is as safe as possible. Below is a list of common household items that frequently cause falls.
It is so important that there is adequate lighting around the home, especially in halls that connect commonly used rooms in the night i.e. between a bedroom and bathroom. There’s a wide variety of additional lighting available, from touch lighting to motion sensor lights that can help those with impaired vision.
The weather can be unpredictable, especially in the UK! Rain, ice, snow can all cause mobility problems, and make an otherwise safe pathway very slippery. Be sure to wear sensible shoes with rubber soles for better traction. Be sure to use floor mats when entering your home to pop up moisture from your shoes to prevent yourself or others from slipping. A handrail beside stairs or leading up to the house can provide additional support.
Prevent trips over smaller pieces of furniture or furniture legs by arranging living spaces with plenty of space to move around the room. This might be best achieved by putting furniture against walls.
Not many people think about temperature and falling, but if it is too hot, it can cause dehydration that leads to dizziness. Similarly being too cold in your home can cause illness, which again makes you more susceptible to falling or fainting.
Flooring & Rugs
It’s important that all flooring is in good condition, with no loose floor boards or poorly laid carpet. Rugs can also be an easily overlooked trip hazard. It might be wise to remove it.
Clutter such as stacks of newspapers and magazine or wires across the room are easy to trip over.Keep the floor space as clear as possible, using storage and wire tidies.
Pets can be great companions to older people and there are many studies that link the benefits of pet ownership to reduced blood pressure and stress. Unfortunately, pets like dogs and cats can “get under the feet” of their frailer owners and can cause falls.
Stairs are a common cause of falls. Even small details like busy carpet patterns can make seeing where to place your feet more difficult, especially for those with poor vision. Make sure the individual steps are easy to see and that the stair case is well lit.
Beyond this checklist, you may find reassurance in setting up a personal alarm with a built-in fall detection, alongside an emergency alarm monitoring service. Personal Emergency Alarms can help older people feel safer in their own homes, by providing reassurance that should they have a fall, and not be able to get up, help is there 24/7.
How does a fall detector work?
Personal Emergency Alarms with built-in fall detection are the latest development to the traditional alarm pendant. Unfortunately, those at higher risk of falling may not be able to press a button to alert help or reach a telephone. Built-in fall detection overcomes this issue by being automatically triggered by a series of clever measurements that sense that a fall has taken place. The detector recognises there has been an accelerated drop, and/or a period of no movement thereafter. If there has been no cancellation of the device (in case it was triggered accidently) an alert is sent to a monitoring centre. At any other point the user is always able to raise an alarm by just pressing the pendant alarm.
Appello has been providing personal alarms and emergency monitoring service for over 25 years. Today, we help over 150,000 people feel safer, happier and more independent in their own homes. To find out more about our services, or about our fall detector, visit www.appello.co.uk or call our friendly team on 0333 321 6474.
Due to the complex nature of falls, it may not be possible to automatically detect all falls. However it is usually possible to raise a manual alarm call at any time by pressing the alarm button.
[i] DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS, Falls in older people.
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