National Falls Prevention Awareness Day

September 22, 2017, 10:59 am EST | Share:

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WTAT-TV) — September 22nd marks National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and Dr. Angie Giddens with Trident Medical Center joined the FOX 24 Morning News with tips on how to avoid unintentional falls from happening.

Dr. Giddens says some of the ways family or caregivers can make homes or care spaces a little safer for the elderly is by eliminated all potential hazards. “Protecting the home is important because a majority of falls do take place within the homes. So you want to make sure you are looking around the house to check for any potential hazards,” she said. “Maybe the entry to your home, you want to make sure the steps are well maintained.”

If possible, she says to have a handrail available on each side. “When you enter your home, you want to look around at the common areas and walkways and make sure you don’t have a lot of clutter like boxes, furniture or cords. Things that are potential tripping hazards.”

Dr. Giddens says little rugs can also be hazardous, especially for an elderly person who might be walking with a cane or a walker. “If those rugs are not well secured, they can be a potential tripping hazard.”

Some of the ways you cans safe-proof a bathroom could include having your home well lit. “At night, if elderly people may be getting up and going to and from a bathroom, have a nightlight in the bedroom, hallway and the bathroom,” she recommends. “Also make sure that if you have a mat in the bathroom it is well secured with a rubber backing so that it doesn’t slip when you step onto it.”

If you have difficulty getting up and down from a lower toilet, Dr. Giddens says you may want to add a handicap height toilet to your bathroom or even place a frame around it. “Also the importance of having properly installed grab bars in the bathtub and shower to help increases safety.”

Additionally, there could be safety concerns in the kitchen. Dr. Giddens says you should always take your time and set up your environment to have common items where you can easily reach them. “So you are not trying to crawl underneath the cabinets or climbing up onto something unsafe to get something from a higher cabinet,” she said. “Also, if you spill something, make sure you clean it up right away.”

If it’s not safe for you to bend down and clean it up successfully, please ask for help.