How Safe Is Your Home For Visitors?
One in three older Americans falls each year, and every 18 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for falling-related injuries.
The elderly and people with serious illnesses have certain risk factors for falling. Their eyesight, balance and strength aren’t as good as they once were. Their medications may make them weak or dizzy or blur their vision. Pain may cause them to move in an awkward or unsteady way.
With holiday parties and family gatherings, now is a good time to take a look around your home, to make it as fall-proof as possible. Small changes can make a huge difference in safety.
Here’s a short list of potential safety hazards. Think of them as falls waiting to happen. Correct as many as you can. (Some fixes may require the work of a handyman.)
- Lighting: Are hallways, stairs and other traffic areas well-lit? Replace any dim or burned-out bulbs. Use nightlights.
- Pathways: Are traffic areas clear? Remove obstacles, including furniture, electrical cords, loose rugs and any clutter.
- Handrails: Are there hand railings on both sides of stairways? Grab bars by the bathtub/shower and toilet?
- Slippery areas: On stairs, use non-skid treads; mark edges with reflective tape. On smooth floors, use double-sided tape under area rugs; avoid waxes. In bathtubs, use non-skid strips.
- Storage: Store often-used items at waist level.
Caution: House pets are a frequent cause of falls. If you have a pet who’s always underfoot, remind visitors to prod the floor before stepping down and gently nudge Fluffy or Barkley out of the way.
Is it an emergency for the hospital emergency department or for urgent care treatment? Learn the differences here: The Minimalist Guide to Emergency Care.
While we hope you never need our emergency departments or Children’s Emergency Center, Gwinnett Medical Center’s emergency departments at GMC-Lawrenceville and GMC-Duluth operate 24/7. For directions and more information visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/emergency.