An increased risk of falling is an inevitable side-effect of getting older. Admitting that you are not as stable on your feet as you once were can be tough, but it is important not to let your pride get in the way of your physical safety. Falling can cause serious damage when we get older, and our bodies take longer to heal any injuries sustained. Prevention is the best strategy to keep yourself pain-free and safe, so below are some of the top tips to prevent yourself from falling.
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Proper footwear is the most fundamental prevention strategy when it comes to falling. Whether it’s indoors or out, firm shoes with good grip are one of the most powerful tools for keeping you safe. You may be used to wearing heels, slippers, and other types of footwear, but a good pair of comfortable shoes with non-slip soles will remove a lot of the risk.
Clear the Floor
If you’re the kind of person who finds satisfaction in a good, thorough spring-cleaning, then this may not be an issue for you. But if you’re not the neatest person in the world, or frequently have pets or children in your home, then this in an important one to take note of. Clutter is a big tripping risk, regardless of the size. Even small objects are enough to take you by surprise and throw you off balance, so be sure to clean as you go. It’s also important to be vigilant of wires in today’s day and age, so from chargers to hair driers, unplug when you’re done.
Note the risky floors
Different areas of the house will have different levels of risk associated with them. The most dangerous in terms of falling would usually be the bathroom and the kitchen, as these tend to have tile or lino floors, and are often wet. Being more observant, walking more slowly, and avoiding sleek textured footwear such as slippers or socks are all small changes you can make to stay safe.
Wooden floors carry a similar risk, while carpeted areas would be the safest. If you have rugs, these can not only be a tripping hazard, but can slide beneath your feet. Move the rug, or secure it down with strong, double-sided tape.
Light up the room
The brighter it is, the less chance that you will overlook a tripping hazard. Try to let in as much natural light as possible, and place lamps in any black spots. If possible, it is worth buying a few torches, ideally one for every room, or at the very least, get one for your bedside table. These days you can even buy slippers with torches built into the front, which are fantastic, as any objects in your path will light up and cast a very long, visible shadow.
Is there an area in your house where you or guests are constantly almost-tripping? It might be a hidden step, for example, which may necessitate a sign or reminder or some sort to make yourself extra conscious when passing through. But anytime you have a fall of any sort, you should note what happened in writing. Try to identify yourself why this occurred, and how you saved yourself, but also take these notes to the doctor the next time you visit. It may seem like a stumble to you, but to a doctor, the difference between almost twisting your ankle and your knee giving in is extremely significant.
It can feel embarrassing to take steps like these, as we don’t like to admit that we are getting older. But the pain experienced, and limitations during and possibly after healing will impact your life in a much more noticeable way. So do everything you can to prevent unnecessary falls, and keep yourself safe.