Don’t fall for it: Six fall prevention strategies

13 November 2018

Living with blindness or low vision can make staying safe at home a challenge. With that in mind, we spoke to a Vision Australia occupational therapist about what can be done to prevent falls and keep you or your loved ones safer in their home for longer.

Read on for our top falls prevention tips:

Keep clear

Trip hazards are one of the big causes of falls in the home. Try and have defined walkways that are kept clear of furniture and other obstacles like electrical cords. Rugs and mats can also slip and cause falls, so if possible you should consider removing them all together. If you’d rather keep your favourite rug around you should make sure it sits flat to the ground, is secured so it doesn’t slip, and contrasts against other surfaces around it.

Get the right advice

The best solution for you will be one that’s unique to your home. Things like lighting and handrails can make a huge difference in making stairs and other high risk areas safer, but it’s important to get things right. A Vision Australia occupational therapist can help with a household assessment and provide expert advice on what you might need. Once you’ve worked out what you need, make sure the work is carried out by a licensed professional. After all, a handrail will only help you if it stays secured to the wall.

Mix and match

Don’t be afraid to combine different falls prevention strategies together, it can make a big difference. For example you could use a shower chair, a hand rail, and a hand held shower hose all at once in the shower to make things safer. However as we said above, it’s important you make sure to get the right advice before buying or using chair or any other item.

Keep things organized

Organisation is key. Make sure chairs and other household items are returned to their right spot after use. Objects like shoes and bags which are left on the floor can be become trip hazards, so make sure they get put away. Make sure people you share the home with let you know if they’ve moved something, or if anything has been spilt or left on the floor. Or, if someone in your home is blind or has low vision, make sure you let them know.

Use technology to keep in touch

  • If you or a loved one is at risk of a fall it’s vital they can alert others that they require assistance as soon as possible.
  • Emergency pendants are available that can detect if someone has had a fall and contact emergency contacts. There are also pendants and mobile phones available that can be programmed with emergency contacts and will ring until somebody answers them. Vision Australia’s occupational therapists can help with what device might help you best.

Keep the phone handy

If you don’t want to wear a pendant or have your mobile phone on you at all times, make sure a phone is kept on a low table or similar, rather than mounted out of reach on the wall. That way in case of a fall you will still be able to get in contact with someone.

If there is a fall, call for help

If you find someone who has had a fall it’s best not to try and lift them. You should assess them without trying to move them and call 000 immediately. If there is a stable chair nearby you may wish to bring this closer so the person can pull themselves onto it if they are able.

For more advice on making your home safer and reducing the chances of a fall, get in touch with us today for an assessment. Call 1300 84 74 66 or email info@visionaustralia.org.