Reducing Your Risk of Falling at Home

Reducing Your Risk of Falling at Home

Post Date: Mar 15, 2023

As you get older, your bones tend to become less dense, and your muscle mass begins to decrease. That can make the effects of a stumble or fall much worse than they used to be: broken hips are certainly a risk, among other injuries. Even as your body ages, there is so much to live for. From family and friends to work and giving back to the community, your golden years are a time to work hard to keep in good health. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of falling at home.

Find time for daily movement

Keeping moving and maintaining your muscle mass helps give you stability and protect your bones. That could mean walking, lifting weights, or doing elastic band exercises. If you’re unsure what activities suit you best, talk with your healthcare provider to get personalized recommendations.

Focus on bright lighting

When it’s harder to see, it’s easier to stumble. Keep your home brightly lit, especially in hallways, stairwells, and other spaces where obstacles will likely occur. You can get motion sensor battery-operated lights to put in spots that need to be lighter and don’t have nearby electrical outlets.

Clean up clutter

When the floor or walkways of your home are cluttered, it creates obstacles for you. Cleaning up your living area's floor space helps remove some of those trip hazards. You can also reorganize the items you need most are within easy reach. Double-sided tape is an easy way to keep the edges of carpet down.

Keep your pets in mind

An overexcited dog or a cat weaving between your legs can lead to a fall. While training a cat might be more difficult, you can work with your dog to encourage calm responses. And with cats, you might want to put a bell on their collar, so you know if they’re coming up behind you. Or you may need to observe when they’re most likely to be underfoot so you can modify your behavior to discourage them from tripping you up.

Make some simple changes to your home

Sometimes your home needs to grow and change with you to keep up with your stage of life. That might mean installing assistive devices, like grab bars for your shower or bathtub, an adjustable nozzle that you can hold in your hand and use sitting down on a shower seat, or extra traction for slick stairs or smooth floors.

Choose shoes that help

Wearing sensible shoes can help give you proper support when walking around your home. Look for ones with good arch support that stay securely on your foot and fit you properly. Shoes that are too loose might cause you to trip on their own, and ones that are too small could cut off circulation and make it hard to feel where you're stepping.

Clear walkways outside

The walkways leading to your home can impact your fall risk when you go out to get the mail or get home from grocery shopping. When it’s snowy and icy, or when autumn leaves fall, it can create hazards where you walk. And even a layer of pine needles can make a walkway slicker than you may expect. Keep those paths as clear as possible.

Make a wellness visit

A Medicare wellness exam is another step to help reduce your risks. This annual visit is covered by your Medicare Part B (medical insurance) if you’ve had it for more than 12 months. It isn’t a physical exam. Instead, your provider will have you fill out a short questionnaire on your risk factors. They’ll also do a cognitive assessment that looks for early signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This can help you and your provider make a personalized plan to help keep you healthy.

Providers at CHP clinics in Bozeman, Belgrade, and Livingston can help you with your wellness visit. Get in touch to make an appointment and prioritize your health.