Courtesy Home Safety Audit and Fall Prevention
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization for older adults in Washington State. Many falls for adults age 65 and older are caused by gradual health changes due to aging. Conditions such as chronic illnesses, daily medication use, and changes in muscle strength, balance, vision and walking ability cause falls. By learning to manage these health factors you can learn to stay active and independent for life.
For a free home safety check, call our Prevention Division at (253) 851-3111.
The four most important things you can do to prevent falls are:
1. Make your home safer:
- Move furniture so your path is clear.
- Remove throw rugs or tape them down with double sided tape.
- Keep things picked up off the floors and stairways.
- Keep extension cords, telephone cords, and wires coiled and secured to the wall.
- Make sure you have good lighting on stairways and in halls.
- Keep things you use often on lower shelves.
- Put a non-slip rubber mat in the tub or shower.
- Install grab bars near toilets and in tubs and showers.
- Keep the path from your bed to your bathroom well lit.
2. Have your medications reviewed:
The average senior is taking seven medications daily. Have your health care professional or pharmacist review your medications (including vitamins and herbal supplements).
- Taking more medications increases the risk of drug or food interactions.
- You may be taking drugs with similar side effects. Used alone most drugs do not cause harm, but used together you might have a toxic reaction.
- Over the counter medicines, including vitamins and herbal supplements, may cause side effects when used with prescription drugs or some foods.
3. Have your vision checked:
Vision changes can occur slowly over time. You may not be aware that your vision has changed. Get your vision tested at least once a year.
4. Begin an exercise program:
As we get older, doing regular strength, balance, and flexibility exercises protects our health and independence and helps prevent falls. Regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress, sleep better, get more energy, and grow stronger. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.