Many injuries among older adults occur doing everyday activities at home or walking.
In fact, half of the falls older adults incur that result in hospitalization occur within the home and 15% of these patients will require continuing care at home following discharge. Many older adults will not return home, however. Nearly one-third (29%) of community-dwelling older adults hospitalized for a fall in Canada ended up in alternate level care awaiting placement into a residential care home. Of all alternate level care discharges to residential care homes, two-thirds (68%) were due to a fall-related hospitalization around your home and in your community.
Identify, remove and report hazards.
Sometimes we continue to do things that greatly increase our chances of falling, such as climbing a ladder to change a light bulb, or shoveling snow. We can reduce these risks by asking for help. Be sure to focus on what you are doing, take your time, and take breaks if you start to get tired.
Make your home safer by:
- removing things in you home that could cause you to trip such as throw rugs, clutter and electrical cords;
- having good lighting in all rooms, hallways, outside steps and entrances;
- cleaning up spills right away so you don’t slip;
- adding grab bars to your shower and/or tub;
- adding handrails to both sides of stairs and edging strips to each step;
- making sure sidewalks, decks and other walking areas are well lit, level, non-slip and free of clutter;
- keeping entrances free of snow and ice in winter;
- being aware of hazards in your community that could increase your risk of falling;
- watching for signs in shopping centres or other buildings that indicate slippery floors and avoid these areas; and
- calling your local municipality (in Winnipeg call 311) to report hazards in your community.
Tips to help.
- Complete the online Staying On Your Feet Home Safety Checklist to identify fall risks in your home and to get tips on how you can make your home safer.
- Page 25 & 26 from Take Action To Prevent Falls Booklet (2015) has an easy to read home safety checklist that you can use in your own home.
- Contact Age and Opportunity for a FREE Fall Prevention program offered in partnership with the province of Manitoba that helps prevent falls and gives older adults a greater sense of safety in their homes. Older adults 65+ are eligible to have a safety audit of their home and property.
For more information on home safety contact:
- Good Neighbours Active Living Centre Home Maintenance Program (204-806-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Visit www.msot.mb.ca to find an occupational therapist near you or ask your doctor for a referral to community therapy services
- Accreditation Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Preventing Falls: From Evidence to Improvement in Canadian Health Care. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2014.
- Scott, V., Wagar, B., Sum, A., Metcalfe, S., & Wagar, L. (2010). A public health approach to fall prevention among older persons in Canada. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 26(4), 705–18).
- Statistics Canada. Injuries in Canada: Insights from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-624-X). 2015 [cited 2018 April 18].