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Senior Health: Common Risk Factors for Accidents

Updated on February 16, 2012

As you get older, your chances of having an accident at home are much greater due to factors such as being less mobile. Much of this advice may seem blindingly obvious but you’d be surprised at how many accidents happen because this type of common sense was ignored. Your ability to recover from injuries tends to reduce as you age so it’s definitely in your best interests to make sure that your home is as safe as possible. Here are some of the most common causes for trips and falls in the home.

1. Wet floors

Many accidental trips happen on wet floors, especially if the surface is only slightly wet when you step onto it. It’s usually easy to see when a floor is fully wet but if it has started to dry out, it may be a disaster waiting to happen despite looking fine to walk on. Even a minor spillage can cause havoc, particularly if you’ve got the kind of floor which doesn’t show it up easily. If spills do occur, make sure that they’re dealt with as quickly as possible so that there is less potential for an accident.

2. Footwear that doesn’t suit the floor type

Some socks and shoes can ‘slip’ on wooden flooring if there isn’t sufficient grip available, which can be dangerous if you’ve already got issues with your mobility and balance.

3. Poor lighting

Not being able to see potential hazards clearly enough can lead to accidents, especially if you’ve also got vision problems and can’t see things as clearly as before.

4. Uneven carpeting on the stairs

If the carpeting on the stairs is allowed to become worn or damaged, it can create an uneven surface that you can easily trip up on.

5. Not having bannisters on the stairs

Being able to grip onto a bannister while moving up or down the stairs can be invaluable if you have mobility problems and find it difficult to climb the stairs. Without this, you may find it almost impossible to keep your balance, especially if mobility is already an issue.

6. Items left lying around

As obvious as it may seem, make sure that you keep the house as tidy as possible and keep clutter to a minimum. Many falls happen because items are left in hallways or on stairs so it’s important to make sure that this doesn’t become a problem.

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