Soda City Live: Taking proactive steps to keep from falling

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 11:29 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Your home is to be your safe haven. But, sometimes you can take some pretty hard falls in your safe place. This is Fall Prevention Awareness Week, an opportunity to assess your risk of falling and to take proactive steps to keep yourself safe.

Erin Jeffords is an assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She joined Soda City Live to demonstrate several ways to keep yourself from falling.

Erin Jeffords is an assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Erin Jeffords is an assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University.(Erin Jeffords)

Erin says, “Fall is a great time to talk about fall prevention due to September is “Fall Prevention” month by the National Council on Aging. Most falls occur in and around the home, with most falls being reported in the bathroom. There are five simple home strategies and modifications recommended to prevent falls in the bathroom. This list is not all-inclusive, but a great start to being proactive on fall prevention.”

Here are Erin’s suggestions:

1. Grab bars: Grab bars are a very low-cost and highly effective strategy to prevent falls in and around the shower and toileting area. Instead of grab bars with suction cups, the recommendation is a standard grab bar installed by a licensed professional.

2. Non-skid tape in the shower/tub: Avoid using bathmats in the tub/shower as they trap water and mildew over time and are difficult to clean. Recommendations instead of bathmats are non-skid tape that comes in pre-cut strips or rolls.

3. Non-skid bath rugs on the outside of the tub/shower only: Bath rugs on the outside of the tub/shower can cause more harm than good if they slip or slide when stepping on them. A low-ply nonskid bathmat is recommended, and the removal of all other rugs in the bathroom area.

4. Shower chairs with supportive backs and armrests: Avoid using shower bench seats that lack support or even built-in shower seats that may be too low and difficult to stand.

5. Lighting: Using motion sensors or light sensor lights at night are great low-cost interventions to prevent falls.

A licensed occupational therapist or a certified aging-in-place specialist are great resources for making home safety recommendations to age in place or prevent falls. If you want more information on fall prevention, please check out ncoa.org.

A local company that provides aging-in-place assessments is Suite 65, LLC, Shaun Owens, Ph.D., Certified Aging in Place Specialist https://suite65.net/ or (803) 281-1995.

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