Methodist Healthcare - November 15, 2021
by Dr. Gina Dawson P.T.

Afraid of falling? While falling may feel like a part of aging – it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it’s important to know that majority of falls can be prevented. The holiday season can be a prime time for falls because of the hazards of putting up decorations from elevated positions, carrying heavy loads, changes in routine, early darkness from daylight savings, and other seasonal activities.

Emergency departments across the country see a spike in falls occurring on ladders and roofs while hanging holiday lights, standing on chairs and tables to decorate Christmas trees or hang decorations, tripping over ornaments, extension cords, tree skirts, the list goes on. But we’ve got you covered when it comes to tips for safely getting in the holiday spirit while avoiding injury. Be sure to follow these guidelines this season: .

For hard to reach places:

  • Use a ladder: Never stand on furniture. You never know how stable it will be, or how much weight it’s built to support – and where.
  • Make sure the ladder is on a firm, even surface.
  • Keep a partner or friend nearby to assist you if needed.
  • Don’t reach: It may take extra time, but rather than reaching on the ladder, always climb down and reposition yourself.
  • Avoid standing on the top two rungs. reposition it.
  • Make sure the ladder and step stools are locked securely.

To make your home safe for the holidays:

  • Clear Walking Paths: remove floor clutter: papers, wires, boxes, excess furniture and throw rugs to make a clear waking path in every room. Allow for extra room for those using walkers, canes or wheelchairs.
  • Light up Walking Paths: Darkness comes early now, so improved outdoor lighting. Always use a flashlight when walking in the dark. Inside, add night lights in the hallways, stairs, and bathrooms.
  • Overnight guests who have difficulty managing stairs may need to stay downstairs. Prepare the bathroom with grab bars and a shower mat.

The excitement of lots of people coming and going, running children, pets and the change in routine may be overwhelming, so plan ahead and go easy on yourself with any mobility changes that come with age.

Other tips to lower your risk of falling:

  • Slow down and allow yourself enough time to get where you are going. Chances of falling increase when you are running late and rushing.
  • Use a cane or walker or hold someone's hand when in unfamiliar areas.
  • Wear the right shoes.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aids as they help balance and awareness.
  • Keep your hands free. Avoid carrying lots of packages or bags.
  • Stay Hydrated. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation and be aware of medication interaction.
  • When using stairs, ALWAYS use the rail.
  • Be aware of your limitations and don't hesitate to ask for help.

Interested in learning more about fall prevention? Schedule a FREE 1 hour fall prevention seminar and visit our fall prevention program online.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Prevention is the best medicine, but if you or a loved one does sustain an injury, know where to go in a medical emergency. Find your neighborhood Methodist ER.

tags: safety