Perhaps the most important step you can take to help prevent trip and fall accidents around the house is to eliminate the obstacles and hazards that most often cause such incidents. Do a room-by-room walkthrough of your older relative or loved one’s home and remove any excess furniture and low-lying items. Be sure to leave enough space around furniture to accommodate canes, walkers or wheelchairs as necessary.
Remove or secure all throw rugs to the floor to prevent your loved one’s feet from getting caught up. Clear all pathways of clutter and make sure that all cords are secured and out of the way.
Pay especially close attention to hallways and stairs, making sure that they are clear of clutter and debris. Stairways should have sturdy, securely attached handrails on both sides and safety treads attached to every step. If any steps are loose or in disrepair, be sure to have them fixed as soon as possible.
Last, but not least, make sure that there is adequate lighting in every room. Poorly lit areas can easily hide dangerous obstacles. Consider installing nightlights to help guide seniors safely between the bedroom and the bathroom in the evening and early morning hours.
Check back later this week when we will take a closer look at the one room in the house where most elderly accidents happen: the bathroom.