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Tips for preventing falls and injuries
Different houses will pose different hazards, but there are always proactive steps that can be taken
With three in four Canadians indicating they want to age in place, according to a new national survey commissioned by March of Dimes Canada, it seems there’s no place like home for seniors. But is it the safest place for them?
When you take the right preventive steps, it most certainly can be, says Laurie Elliot Leach, manager of the Safety at Home Program for Community Support Services of Niagara.
For more than a decade, Elliot Leach has been providing home assessments to help seniors remain safe at home and she says her eyes have been “opened wide” to potential risks.
“Some people get a little bit worried or concerned that I’m going to say they have to leave their home, but I’m there to do the opposite, to keep them in their home,” she said, noting that safety recommendations range from suggesting rubber soled shoes or slippers, to removing unsafe furniture, to more complex home modifications.
As part of its National Senior Safety Week campaign in November, the Canada Safety Council encouraged Canadians to revisit senior home safety to prevent falls – the leading cause of injury among older Canadians, responsible for 85 per cent of injury-related hospitalizations.
Their top prevention tips include installing grab bars and handrails near toilets and showers; adding non-slip surfaces in the tub or shower; removing rugs or scatter mats that can be a tripping hazard; clearing clutter; and, maintaining good lighting.
Elliot Leach begins her assessment from the moment she arrives. “As soon as I go up and knock on a door, I’m looking to see: Are there handrails … are the stairs secure?” she said.