Reduce your falls risk this festive season
The holiday season is officially in full swing, trees are up and Christmas decorations are on display. As much as this is an exciting time of year, extra items in your home can be a cue to brush up on falls information. Don’t go clearing away the Christmas tree yet though! You can ensure your safety by following a few key tips.
Remove tripping hazards from your home
Keep your home neat and tidy, keeping walkways clear is especially important. If you like to place Christmas presents under the tree go right ahead, just ensure they are popped close to the centre of the tree and not strewn across the surrounding floor.
Light up more than just the Christmas tree
Inadequate lighting is a major falls risk factor, ensure all your lights are in good working order and consider purchasing bulbs with a greater wattage. If you often get up to go to the toilet at night consider a night light to guide you safely.
Install grab bars or hand rails
These safety bars may not be the most chic home improvement item money can buy, but they will go a long way in increasing your safety at home. They are particularly helpful along stairways and in your bathroom. You can purchase these at Bunnings for as little as $30.00 for a small safety bar and have this installed by a handy family member or a local tradesman.
Exercise for falls prevention
Our bodies were designed to move. Physical activity keeps us healthy and reduces the risk of falls by improving balance, strength, flexibility and bone strength. Some of the best kinds of exercise are those that require balance whilst improving strength at the same time, for example Tai Chi, dancing and our functional fitness class.
Know your health risk factors
Unfortunately, certain health conditions can increase your risk of falling. Stroke, Arthritis and Parkinson’s disease can affect your level of movement and ability to react quickly in the event of a fall. Diabetes and postural hypertension can also put you at a greater risk as they can cause you to feel faint or dizzy. Osteoporosis does not necessarily increase your risk of experiencing a fall but it can worsen the consequences. If you have any of the listed conditions it can be a good idea to chat with your GP and gain a better understanding of how they impact on your falls risk and what you can do to ensure your safety.
Have a plan for what to do in the event of a fall
This is particularly important for those that live alone, aim to have a plan for how you will ‘raise the alarm’ and for how help can be let in. Common ways alarm can be raised is through the use of a personal alarm or through an intercom system. Another handy service is Telecross, this service involves a daily phone call from a red cross volunteer to check in on your safety, you can find out more by visiting their website or calling 1300 885 698. To let help in you can organise to give family members keys to your house or keep a set of keys in a locked box outside your home that can be opened with a combination.