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Living well at home

Originally published in the Apple valley Scoop Issue 26 (April 2011) by Nancy Blezy RN, Nurse Manager, Careforce Health Services

In the last article I focused on you: how your health and general well-being affects your fall risk. Statistics suggests that each year 1 out of every 3 seniors will fall. Falls are the leading cause of injuryrelated deaths for those over 65. The majority of these falls happen at home. The good news is - FALLS CAN BE PREVENTED!

Today’s focus is your home environment. The bathroom is considered the most hazardous place in your home. Consider placing grab rails (not towel bars or toilet paper holders) securely mounted to the wall studs around the toilet and the shower/tub area. Ensure that the bars are placed where you would normally grab. Add nonskid bath mats in the tub and on the floor. Bath chairs allow stability in the tub. Place night lights between the bedroom and bathroom for safe maneuvering. Stairs should be well lit, have hand rails on both sides and loose carpets should be repaired. Bare stair treads should have non slip treads applied. Make sure pets don’t sleep on the stairs. Eliminate scatter rugs or make sure they are secured on all edges with double edged tape or nonskid backings. Arrange your furniture so you have clear pathways and can move easily throughout your home. Light switches should be easily accessible as you enter a room. Cords should be tucked up against walls. Place a phone by your bed, and next to where you usually sit to eliminate quick (and dangerous) dashes to the phone.

These are little things – but they have been proven to be effective in fall reduction. Take steps today to reduce your fall risk and increase the chances of remaining independent and in your home. Call me at Careforce Health Services if you would like a free assessment of your home and some help in identifying risks. Kingston 765-3122, Kentville 365-3155 and Wolfville 542-0360.