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Do all you can to prevent a fall

12:00am | & Health

One of the biggest worries caused by reduced mobility is the fear of falling.

Children and young people fall all the time, but they also ‘bounce’ and rarely suffer any lasting damage. Unfortunately, as we get older the risk of a serious injury or other complications resulting from a fall increases dramatically. This is even more likely if our mobility is hampered by a condition such as arthritis.

As with all health issues, prevention is always better than cure and this is certainly true when it comes to falls. Most NHS Trusts have established dedicated ‘fall prevention teams’, able to give practical help and advice to anyone considered at risk of falling. This includes carrying out free home assessments, designed to identify and eliminate potential risk factors which could contribute to a fall.

Many Trusts also offer exercise and education sessions designed to reduce the risk of falling by improving balance and postural stability. Your GP should be able to advise you on what is available locally and refer you appropriate to your medical needs.

However, there’s a lot you can do yourself to eliminate trip hazards around your home, and most of it is simple common sense. Some examples include cleaning up clutter from the floor; securing any loose carpet or rugs which might slide; installing grab bars and hand rails in risky areas such as getting in and out of the bath; choosing slippers with good non-slip soles; and avoiding long, loose fitting clothing.

One of the regular causes of falls around the home is pets’ toys. It’s only natural that we want to provide toys or chewy bones for our much-loved pets, but they are not much good at clearing up! So if you have pets, it is best to limit their toys and take extra care walking around the home.

At this time of year, wintry conditions make falling outdoors a particular worry, but again there is lots you can do reduce the risk. Here are 10 top tips to think about:

  1. Only go out in the snow and ice if it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise stay indoors.
  2. Wear gloves so you don’t have to put your hands in your pockets, which can impair your balance.
  3. Be sure to wear your glasses so you can see clearly and identify potential risks.
  4. Wrap up warm – research shows you are more likely to fall if you are cold.
  5. Wear well-fitting sturdy shoes or boots with a good grip.
  6. Choose a well-lit route and avoid places out of the sun, where ice is more likely to linger.
  7. Avoid carrying heavy loads which will put you off balance.
  8. Try to keep any pathways or stairs to your home free of ice and snow.
  9. Walk slowly and deliberately, staying alert to the possibility of ice. Use a walking stick or pole if it helps.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family and neighbours are usually only too happy to help with running errands or clearing pathways, so don’t be too proud to ask.

Of course, the one place where you really don’t want to trip and fall is on your stairs. The additional dangers from falling on the stairs are all too obvious, and prevention here is supremely important. Again the same advice applies about removing clutter or loose carpet, wearing sensible footwear and using a secure hand rail.

But if falling on the stairs is a significant risk, perhaps due to limited mobility, by far the best solution is a stairlift. Some people confine themselves to living on one level or even consider moving house because using the stairs is just too arduous or dangerous, but it needn’t be that way. An Acorn Stairlift means you can continue to enjoy all of your home, gliding smoothly and safely up and down stairs whenever you need to.

Our stairlifts can be fitted within just a few days of you getting in touch, even next day if necessary, and that goes for curved staircases as well as straight ones. Why not book a free home survey to find out how an Acorn Stairlift could greatly improve your quality of life and home safety?

Our experienced surveyor will be able to advise on your needs and provide a comprehensive no-hidden-extras quote, which is probably less than you think. There’s no obligation to buy and we won’t give you the hard sell. The quote remains valid for 12 months so you can take all the time you need to make up your mind. What have you got to lose?

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