As published in The Boomer lift-out of The Advertiser in December 2018.
A broken bone will slow us down at the best of times but, as we age, it can result in losing independence or even needing support at home or in a residential aged care facility.
Falls are the leading reason for older people breaking bones and being admitted to hospital. The risk of falling often increases as we get older, but there are some simple measures you can take to reduce this.
Start with a home safety assessment to help you to implement some strategies to make your home safer as you age. Are there items which may potentially increase your risk of having a fall? Are there cords laying around or rugs curling at the ends which may pose a tripping hazard? Would a non-slip mat provide more security with your footing in the bathroom?
Outside spaces are also important. Cleaning gutters and changing light globes may seem to be everyday tasks, however they can pose a significant risk of injury. Your local council or an aged care services organisation can offer support with these kinds of jobs around the home.
Staying fit and being proactive about your health will also support your safety at home. Regular exercise including strength and balance classes can help in falls prevention, and aid with recovery in the event that a fall does happen.
Other measures could include asking your doctor or pharmacist to regularly review your medications, having regular checks of your eyesight, replacing shoes or slippers if the tread has worn, and updating any aids as needed.
The My Aged Care website may assist with further information and help you check your eligibility for assistance at home.
By taking a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk of falls to remain safe and independent at home for longer.