Countless seniors are injured in slip and fall accidents every single year, and one of those injuries could easily change an individual’s life forever. Seniors, in particular, are very susceptible to injury from falls that could leave a lasting impact on their health. While some accidents are completely unavoidable, seniors can do quite a bit to minimize their risk of an unnecessary injury. Here are a few steps that seniors, and anyone for that matter, can take to avoid slip and fall accidents.
Wear Sensible Shoes
Your footwear is going to be an important part of your fall-prevention plan, and you might need to invest in some new shoes if you have recently been struggling with any mobility or balance issues. As a general rule, older adults need to avoid impractical footwear like floppy slippers, sandals, and high heels. Your shoes should support your ankles and have plenty of tread on the soles. Thick tread is essential to giving your feet a firm grip on the ground, especially on slippery surfaces and during winter weather. You might also want to invest in cushioned inserts that protect your ankles, knees, and hips. Padded insoles and thick tread can do a lot for giving your step the extra support it needs for long, healthy strides.
Exercising a few times a week is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a slip and fall accident. As a senior grows older, their muscles and ligaments are going to become weaker, and that will make it very difficult for them to keep their balance if they don’t continue to exercise. Weight training can also strengthen the bones and reduce one’s risk of a fracture. Building up cardiovascular health will prevent those instances of dizziness that come from standing suddenly and changing altitude, and can even help slow the aging process. When beginning your exercise routine, however, be sure to have a spotter that can help ensure that you don’t push yourself harder than your body is ready for as you build up the muscle strength to do more.
Use Assistive Devices
When you are running errands around town, you should always use assistive devices like handrails, grab bars, and ramps. Most businesses that are open to the public must be ADA compliant, and their storefronts should be accessible to those who have any mobility issues or disabilities. If a business isn’t ADA compliant and you end up injuring yourself on their property, then you must immediately contact a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options. Knowing your rights to accessibility in public spaces will ensure that you can get the compensation you need for injury, as well as allow you to advocate for better compliance so that your community is fully accessible to you and others.
Declutter the Home
Decluttering your home is another simple step that you can take to reduce your risk of a slip and fall accident. You might have dozens of tripping hazards throughout your home, and you shouldn’t have to dodge those items whenever you walk around. Some of the worst offenders include piles of shoes, electrical cords, bunched up rugs, and old boxes. If your home has hardwood or tile floors, then you might want to invest in non-skid rugs as well, especially in the winter months when snow and rain can be tracked into the home and cause hazardous walking space. Textured, rubber welcome mats are easy to find online and in stores at affordable prices, and greatly improve the safety of both your indoor spaces and your porch.
Slips and falls are a major hazard for seniors, especially those who are aging in place without home assistance. If you have suffered from falls before, you are at greater risk to do so again and should invest in an emergency alert service so that you can get help should you suffer injury. In addition to these steps given, talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors for falls and see if they have recommendations for emergency assistance services.