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Safely Stepping Into Spring

I saw the first flower peek through the ground in my yard this weekend so I guess it is safe to say Spring is here. As the weather warms and the sun is brighter it is a great time to enjoy the outside.  Last month I wrote about being healthy, dressing for success and organizing after the winter. I had a conversation with one of my fellow owners in Senior Helpers last week and we both had noticed an increase in slips and falls as our clients sought to take advantage of the outside in Spring of last year.

Here are some thoughts to make sure you or your loved one is not one of the slip and fall statistics this year:

Things to watch out for:

  • Physical activity: Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance, and reduced flexibility.
  • Vision: This includes age-­?related vision diseases, as well as a need for updated eyeglass prescription or not wearing glasses that have been prescribed.
  • Medications: Sedatives, anti-­?depressants, and anti-­?psychotic drugs, plus taking multiple medications are all implicated in increasing risk of falling.
  • Diseases: Health conditions such as arthritis cause weakness in the extremities, poor grip strength, balance disorders and cognitive impairment.
  • Surgeries: Hip replacements and other surgeries can leave a person weak, in pain and in discomfort. This can make us less mobile than we were before the surgery.
  • Environmental hazards: One third of all falls in the elderly population involve hazards at home. Factors include: poor lighting, loose carpets and lack of safety equipment.

 Things we can do:

  • Have walkers, canes or other devices checked to ensure they are adjusted properly and that ends and grips are in good shape.
  • Install safety-­?bars, grab bars or handrails in the shower or bath.
  • Put no-­?stick tape on the floor in the tub.
  • Use a stool riser seat to make getting on and off the toilet easier.
  • Install at least one stairway handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps.
  • Make sure stairs are sturdy with strong hand railings.
  • Be sure that stairwells are well-­?lit. Consider making the lighting in your home brighter to aid vision.
  • Make sure rugs, including those on stairs, are tacked to the floor.
  • Remove loose throw rugs.
  • Avoid clutter. Remove any furniture that is not needed. All remaining furniture should be stable and without sharp corners, to minimize the effects of a fall.
  • Change the location of furniture, so that you can hold on to something as they move around the house.
  • Do not have electrical cords trailing across the floor. Have additional base plugs installed so long cords are not necessary.
  • Wear non-­?slip shoes or slippers, rather than walking around in stocking feet.
  • Make sure all rooms have adequate lighting. Consider motion-­?sensitive lights that come on when a person enters a room. Use night lights in every room.
  • Keep frequently used items in easy-­?to-­?reach cabinets.
  • Use a grasping tool to get at out-­?of-­?reach items, rather than a chair or stepladder.
  • Wipe up spills and remove broken glass immediately.
  • Make sure outside lights are in good working order.

Thank you again for the opportunity to work with you and or your family.