02 August 2018
According to the World Health Organisation, falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Whilst we often feel most comfortable at home, falls can happen here too.
In this blog we are going to give you a handy acronym checklist to help avoid falls in your own home, and helpfully, the word is easy to remember and mention to others: STEADY.
S for Slippers and Shoes
It sounds obvious but do check your slippers have a decent tread on them and haven’t become shiny and slippery on the sole. If you have shoes that you regularly wear, have a good look at them and check that they are still supporting your foot and ankle, and that they have enough grip.
T for Tablets and Toilet
Be aware that some prescription medicines may have side-effects that make you light headed when you stand up, cause dizziness, sleepiness or unsteadiness. If this happens speak to your local pharmacist or GP as you could be at increased risk of falling. If you are on four or more medications a day, you should have a review of your medicines once a year. Ask your GP or practice nurse about this.
If you are rushing to the toilet then you are more likely to slip or trip. If you have a continence or urgency problem then talk to your GP as there are various way to help.
E for Eyes and Ears
Attend regular sight tests (free if you are over 60), as you may need a change in your prescription or may need bifocals if you are tripping over things at home. Discuss any issues affecting your ears to you GP, as this may affect your balance.
A for Active
Keeping active is so important to the condition of your muscles and body. The NHS recommend that people over 65 should be taking part in 150 minutes per week of moderate activity (such as walking or cycling) and two strength activities such as yoga or Tai chi. Sitting still for long periods of time and a sedentary lifestyle can cause muscles to weaken, and can affect bone strength. Look at your local leisure centre, or search online for NHS Fitness Studio Strength Workout for exercise you can do at home.
D for Drinks and Diet
Feeling dizzy is not great for balance and can lead to falls. Try to eat regular small meals, and drink plenty of water, cutting down on alcohol if it makes you woozy.
Y for Your Home
Check your home for obvious hazards such as rugs that slip or wrinkle causing a trip hazard, wires or cables from the phone or TV that could be tripped over, a dripping tap or leak from that bath or shower that causes a slippery puddle, and get them fixed or removed.
Equally, lighting at home is really important, check you can see well in your hallway as you come in, on the stairs, at night if you need to use the bathroom and so on. Replace bulbs with a brighter wattage if it is gloomy.
Remember not to reach. Standing on chairs or tiptoes then overbalancing and falling is an obvious pitfall and one we have all risked. If you can’t easily reach the top shelf in the cupboard anymore then move the glasses down to the next level.
So, think STEADY today, make some changes to be safer, and mention STEADY to friends and family too.
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