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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Accessibility - Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that injuries caused by trips and falls are climbing at an enormous rate. In 2014, the number of deaths from trips and falls almost equaled the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. The fact is, many of these trips and falls are caused by preventable circumstances.

To reduce the probability of such injuries and potential deaths, some basic precautions can be taken in and out of the home.

Eliminate Hidden Hazards

TRIPS. Many trips and falls are caused by small, preventable items in the home that are, in most cases, simply overlooked. A thorough walk through the home may reveal such items. Throw rugs can be a cause for a trip or fall because many removable rugs can easily slide on a hard surface, or can ball up and create a trip hazard. Electrical cords that are strung across a walking path, or that run along the wall unsecured, can also create a hazard. Eliminating these few items can significantly reduce the number of fall and trip hazards in a home.

FALLS. Two common places for falls are in the bathroom and the bedroom. Bathroom falls can occur in several different areas: tub or shower (tripping and falling), getting on and off the toilet, drying off or dressing. Bedroom falls often occur while getting in and out of bed, dressing or reaching for something in a closet or dresser drawer.

Having sufficient grasping surfaces in the bathroom can aid in preventing falls. There are products available that can add a handsome design element, as well as help to prevent falls in the bathroom. Check out some of the innovative bathroom aids from Savon Medimart, like grab bars and bath/shower benches.

In the bedroom, having sufficient support next to the bed can also help to dramatically reduce falls. A firm, stable surface for sitting while dressing is also vital.  Savon Medimart has an under the mattress bed rail that provides a sturdy grasp for aiding at getting in and out of the bed.

Evaluate the Entire Home - Inside and Outside

Too often, even an awareness of the potential for trips and falls, as well as preparation for aging at home, is incomplete because of an inability to identify all of the common hazards. check online for worksheets or checklists can often help to completely evaluate a home; however, even phone apps are available  to make sure you do not miss anything during an evaluation.

Many trips and falls are caused by external areas of egress in and out of the home. Even in the nicest of weather conditions, the threshold and stairs of house can pose tripping hazards—coming or going—and may cause a fall. Products designed to reduce the trips on steps can very much assist in eliminating falls in a home.  Sufficient hand rail height on stairs and deck railings, stair tread width and depth are important.  When walking on uneven ground and terrain, the assist of a cane or walker/rollator can help prevent falls.

Expect the Expected

As baby boomers age, few like to truly admit that they are getting older and are starting to lose mobility. Studies show, however, that though aging can increase the risk of trips and falls, these occurrences can affect anyone at any age and ability.  Recognizing the potential for trips and falls even from seemingly able-bodied people shows the increased need to develop a safe approach to the prevention of these incidents.

Article adapted from Homecare Magazine.

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