Preventing falls in the home
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Trips, slips and falls are among the most common types of accident to occur in the home. For young, mobile and healthy people, injuries from these kinds of accidents are usually minor bumps and bruises. However, as you get older or less mobile, trips and falls can be more dangerous. Falling heavily can lead to serious injuries such as sprains or broken bones and sometimes people may find it difficult to get up again.
You can get advice, help and even special classes to help you stay on your feet from your local NHS Falls Prevention Service. The service is free and open to anyone living in Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham or the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who:-
- has had a history of falls
- is worried about falling
- has had a low-impact fracture or osteoporosis
- has trouble with walking or balance.
Specialist staff will look at your individual situation and refer you to the most appropriate service to help you avoid falls. You may receive advice on changing the way you do things so that you stay safe, physiotherapy to help improve your walking, or you may be offered equipment which will help you with walking and getting about your home.
The Falls Prevention Service have produced a leaflet telling you about the service
The fear of falling can leave many people feeling anxious, and reluctant to lead a full and active life. The Falls Prevention Service have also produced a guide on the effects of anxiety and how to manage fear of falling.
Hammersmith & Fulham
The Safer Homes Scheme from Creighton House offers home safety checks for people in Hammersmith and Fulham who are over the age of 65 or have a disability, including those who are at risk of falls.
Kensington and Chelsea
The Age UK Kensington & Chelsea Safe At Home Project provides support to people who, due to health reasons or their living conditions, are at risk of falling within their homes. They advise on Falls Prevention & Decluttering
There are a number of things you can do yourself to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the home.
- Keep your living space tidy. Make sure you keep the floor in your home tidy and free from obstacles. Be particularly careful of trailing wires from electrical equipment, which can be hard to see.
- Be careful of rugs and loose floor coverings. Loose floor coverings can often slip, wrinkle or curl up at the edges and be easy to trip over. Make sure that rugs are secured using grip tape (available from DIY and homeware stores), and ensure carpets are well-fitted and fixed down at doorways with carpet strips. Replace worn or fraying carpets as soon as you can, particularly on stairs.
- Clean up spillages straight away. Wipe up spilled liquids or foods with a cloth or mop as soon as possible to reduce the risk of slipping.
- Install grab rails. If you're having difficulty moving around your home, you could consider having some grab rails installed. These are strong metal rails that are fixed to the wall to enable you to support yourself and move around more easily.
- Take care when bathing. Try to avoid using bath oils and creams when bathing or showering which may make the bath slippery. A rubber bathmat is also a good investment to prevent slipping in the bath. If you're worried about falling while getting into or out of the bath, you could install a grab rail or a bath lift to help you to get in an out safely.
- Mind the steps. Stairs are a common place for falls to occur. Make sure you hold the banister when going up or down stairs. For more stability, you could think about fitting a second banister or grab rails, and if going up and down stairs is really becoming a problem, a chair lift might be a good solution.
Click on this image to view a handy infographic leaflet to on "How to fall proof your home":
If you think you need equipment such as a walking stick, rails or a bath seat to make your home safer, have a look at our Equipment to help at home page.
For ideas on how to ensure that you quickly get help after a fall at home go to our Gadgets to help you stay safe page.
You can consider installing a small, secure safe outside your home with a set of your keys in it. Anyone wanting to access the keys will need to know a code number which you will set, and can then give only to people whom you know and trust. This means that when you are in difficulty, and / or have used an alarm or the phone to call for help, someone will be able to gain access to your property.
The Key Safe Company are one of many companies who sell a range of secure key safes.
Our Decorating and DIY page provides details of local organisations who can help out with odd jobs (such as securing loose rugs and carpets).
And our Major adaptations to your home page explains how to carry out and pay for significant work on your home to make it more suitable to your needs and reduce the risks of falling.
The NHS website provides advice on how to prevent falls at home.
Age UK provide advice and various leaflets on preventing falls.
The Which website offers advice on what to do if you are experiencing falls.
The Easy Health website has gathered together various easy-read leaflets which will help people with learning disabilities to understand more about falling and how to prevent if from happening to them.