Thursday, October 19, 2017

When the Word ‘Fall’ is Not a Good Thing

October 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

greeting, John Silva, The Fix-It ProfessionalsLast time we shared some ideas to “seniorize” your home. In this issue we’re focused on fall…or more specifically falling. For those of us who aren’t elderly yet, those “fallen and can’t get up” television commercials might seem overly dramatic – as if they’re just trying to scare us in to buying their product. But the truth is that falling is the most common cause of injury or even death in seniors.

In a class offered at the University of California, San Francisco, students of geriatric studies experience what it’s like to be elderly. They’re given ear plugs to simulate hearing loss. They put popcorn kernels in their shoes so they can feel how panful it is to walk with peripheral neuropathy. In another of these experiences students are given glasses which simulate how difficult it is to see as you get older.

Seemingly normal well-adjusted adults experienced everything from sadness to panic as they discovered just how difficult it is to do “normal tasks” because of the inability to see, hear or walk comfortably.

If you, or someone you love will be entering their senior years soon, there is no better time than the present to make sure living spaces are safe. In this issue we’ll focus on simple home modifications you can make with an eye on fall prevention.

Out of sight 
During the glasses experiment, students discovered the importance of extra lighting. When inspecting for adequate lighting, start by the bed. Is there a lamp within easy reach? Are there night lights to light the way in the middle of the night? Also consider the stairs. Are they brightly lit? Are there light switches at both the top and bottom of each flight of stairsstairs, John Silva, The Fix-It Professionals

Upstairs downstairs
In addition test the handrails of all stairways. If possible, install sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairs. Put non slip strips on stairs for extra traction and be sure any carpet is either securely fastened or removed.

We’ve said it before but…
Clutter is not a good thing. In each room arrange furniture to maximize open floor space. Make sure small furnishings are not a tripping hazard. Be sure clutter is contained or (even better) eliminated in all areas where someone might walk. Remove all throw rugs and be certain that all carpet is secure. In the kitchen, make sure pet bowls are not a tripping hazard.

Frequently used items
Anything that is used often should be within easy reach. In the kitchen be sure that items that are used every day do not require getting out a step stool to access them. This may mean you have to spend a day re-arranging where things are stored. Call it “safety Day” put on some fun music and just get it done. Making sure every day things are in easy reach also applies to pantries, closets and the garage.

bare feet, John Silva, The Fix-It ProfessionalsNo More Bare Feet
We all love to kick off our shoes when we get home. Unfortunately bare feet have a habit of finding that one sharp thing on the floor or the corner of the coffee table. When this happens and we’re younger, it’s just a painful inconvenience because we have the strength and balance to recover. But think back to the students with popcorn kernels in their shoes. Wearing lace up, non-slip soled shoes in the home will help prevent what could be a much more serious injury.

While we don’t help people with shoes, we love helping “fall-proof” homes. Do you or a loved one need some help   “seniorizing?” Read on for our “October Seniorizing Special” 

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