Tips to Keep Seniors Mobile and Prevent Falls
ADHME Guide to Independent Living Part 2
Living life to the full includes having freedom of movement. Even for those who may be less mobile, moving from one room to another or out the front door adds to our enjoyment of each and every day. Read on for some easy-to-institute ways to increase mobility, decrease the risk of falls and injury, and get on with life.
As we get older or after surgery or illness, we can face balance issues. It’s a scary feeling to be unsure of our footing and this can increase anxiety as we do the simplest of tasks – getting out of bed, completing essential self-care, even daily tasks like cooking a meal. To combat this, it’s essential to put safeguards in place around our home.
One of the key ways to keep on our feet is to be able to see obstacles in our way. It’s not just at night that we may need extra illumination. Installing motion sensing lights along the floor in hallways and entryways means you never have to fumble for a light switch in the dark. This is vital for stairs as well, to ensure you can see where your foot will land before you take the next step.
Make sure you add lights to outdoor stairs and walkways too. These can be motion sensor or light sensor, but you want to make sure they are automatic so you never get caught unexpectedly away from the light switch in the dark.
For your table lamps, you’ll want them on a wall switch, or to at least have easy-turn knobs, so that when you stage the house for the evening, everything is well-lit and cheerful. Not only will your mood brighten, but you will avoid falls due to shadowy areas.
All the lighting in the world won’t help if you still have uneven surfaces that can trip you up unexpectedly. Make sure you tape down the edges of rugs and mats. Even better, remove throw rugs altogether to ensure the paths throughout your home are level and clear.
Navigating inside and out
While many people have the luxury of living in a single floor garden home, stairs are part of daily life for a great many of us. Whether it’s the three steps from the sidewalk to our front door, the half-flight from the entryway to the main living area, or a full flight of stairs we take every night to go to bed, negotiating steps can literally throw us off balance.
First, and most vitally, you need solid stair railings. Grabbing hold of a banister that wobbles or shakes can set up us for disaster. Whether you need to simply tighten and secure the one already there, or put in a brand new one, make sure it’s rock solid.
But a railing along one side of the stairs may not be enough for some of us. In that case, the Stair Steady movable rail may mean the difference between independently getting around your home or not. This rail extends out in front of you for a firm two-handed grip to stabilize you as you mount the stairs.
If you are unable to lift your feet high enough to move from one stair to the next, a railing is simply not enough. In this case, risers can help keep you mobile and self-sufficient. There are two main kinds:
- Permanent risers live on your stairs. You’ll need one for each stair, and you leave them in place after to mount the staircase. These are great for your home stairs, inside and out.
- Portable risers move with you step by step. What if you want to head out to do errands or visit a friend who has stairs? Then you can take your riser with you! The Easy Step cane with built-in riser lets you climb stairs without having to lift your foot all the way from one step to the next.
And last but not least, consider non-skid tape on the edge of each stair to make doubly sure that you don’t lose your footing.
Bathrooms are filled with sharp corners and slick surfaces. Makes sure you stay upright as you negotiate your morning and evening routines by installing railings in strategic spots. Getting up from the toilet or climbing into or out of the bath are tricky for those with limited mobility. How much better to be able to keep both feet on the floor and a hand on the rail to stabilize yourself and avoid nasty slips and falls.
Going from laying in bed to standing upright, or from your bed to your wheelchair is one of the fundamental activities to keep you independent. Bed railings are key for getting in and out of bed without accidental tumbles.
Now that we’ve negotiated the house, it’s time to head out the door. Getting out and about is vital to our well-being, no matter our age or health. But if we have limits on our mobility, this can be a challenge. If you are on your feet, then simply bring your cane along. If there will be lots of stairs in your planned activities, choose the Stair Steady cane. Alternatively, if you need to make sure you can rest along the way, then a walker with a seat is the ideal solution.
But what if you are confined to a wheelchair? Then a ramp is a necessity for getting out and about. You can build a permanent ramp for ease of access, or install a temporary one over your front stoop stairs, which has the benefit of not impacting your home’s resale value. Depending on your home’s entryway, both have their benefits.
And the ramp is great even if you only need a walker. Just be careful not to create too much of an incline, since you want to stay in control at all times to avoid falls and mishaps.
Stay upright, stay moving
Balance issues don’t have to keep you from living independently and getting and about safely. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make sure you can so you can navigate your home, plan outings, get together with friends, and do errands. Whether it’s work, play or somewhere in between, some simple strategies can keep you on the move and living fully.
Matthew Voralik grew up working in the brick and mortar store after school and during the summers. When most boys his age were playing video games, he was assembling wheelchairs and hospital beds and showing people how to use all the things they sold in his dad’s store. Today he does the same thing for his online customers. This also makes America Discount Home Medical uniquely qualified to select and recommend the best products for our customers.
Tags: independent living guide