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An orthopaedic surgeon suggests how to make your home fall-proof

Published on:27 April 2021, 13:34pm IST
Fall-proofing your home is important to reduce the risk of injuries.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Reduce the risk of falling at home and ensure that your family stays safe! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Falling, especially at home, is fairly common and has happened to most of us. At the same time, falls can also cause severe injuries. A group that is particularly vulnerable to falls at home are the elderly. Given that it could leave them in severe pain and affect their movement, you need to make sure that you take active steps to make your home fall-proof.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 5 falls causes serious injuries such as broken bones and head wounds. In fact, the report also suggests that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Clearly, falls don’t just cause serious physical damage but impact your mental well-being too.

No wonder that fall-proofing the home is the need of the hour. It is particularly important in homes where the elderly have osteoporosis, a bone disease that is characterised by low bone density and high chances of fractures.

All these reasons make fall-proofing your home your number one priority. We spoke to Dr Rajan Kothari, senior consultant and orthopaedic surgeon from Apollo Spectra, Pune, to understand how to make a home fall-free.

Identify the high-risk areas of your home

Wet floors, staircases, and washroom floors can increase one’s risk of falling. One can also trip due to the carpets and rugs placed for decoration. In addition, things fallen on the ground can also cause a fall. In fact, falling off the bed, chair or sofa can lead to serious injuries.

Fall-proofing
Ensure your home is fall-proof. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Falls are a major cause of injuries when it comes to elderly people. In fact, falls can lead to hip and shoulder fractures. Hip and shoulder dislocation, head injuries, bruises, sprains, and abrasions can lead to the loss of confidence. Falling may suggest that you are unable to balance yourself and your health is deteriorating,” said Dr Kothari.

Here are some tips that will help you in fall-proofing your home
  • Don’t let your parents wear wet slippers to reduce the risk of falls. “Ask them to wear rubber-soled shoes and avoid leather shoes as they can be slippery”, suggests Dr Kothari. 
  • Do not use rugs or carpets at home as they increase the risk of tripping and falling. “You should try to remove all carpets with worn areas, holes, or long threads. These are contributing factors in increasing the risk of falling,” recommends Dr Kothari.
  • To keep falls at bay, you must avoid smooth surfaces.  
  • Install a handrail at home for the staircase. This way, you will get some much-needed support and can keep injuries at bay. You can also install bars in the house – in the washroom, in the living area, or in the bedroom. These are the areas you access frequently and doing so can slash down your risk of falls. 
  • Make sure that there is good lighting in your home, especially when you use the bathroom at night. Opt for plug-in night lights and try to use movement-sensitive lights near the stairs and washroom. 
  • Try to get rid of the clutter in your home. You should be able to walk care-free at home. 
Fall-proofing
Osteoporosis doesn’t mean being chained to the bed. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Avoid using mats in the bathroom to avoid falls. “Most of the falls occur in toilets or bathrooms. Ensure that you have a raised toilet seat or one with an armrest for support,” recommends Dr Kothari.
Here’s what a caregiver should keep in mind

If you are a caregiver, you will need to ensure that you don’t let an elderly person stay alone in the house to reduce the risk of falls. Try to make sure that the tables and benches at home do not have sharp corners as this can lower the risk of serious injuries. 

Fall-proofing
Who knew milk couldn’t save us from the growing risk of osteoporosis. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Wipe spills and wet floors on an immediate basis. Check if the chairs and beds are sturdy. If an elderly person has lost confidence due to falling frequently then encourage him/her to walk. Make sure that elderly people are not wearing socks or loose slippers at home,” concluded Dr Kothari.

In order to make your home fall-proof, it is best to consult your doctor. They may be able to offer changes based on the condition of your parents.

So, ladies, always remember that prevention is better than cure!

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.