Is Your Home a Danger Zone?
Every day, throw rugs, bathroom floors and stairs become deadly weapons for people prone to falling. For older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury and death.
Step one is to determine why someone is falling. This is accomplished with painless diagnostic tests. After diagnosis, the next step is for a Virtua Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation specialist to create a personalized treatment plan. For extra help at home, Virtua Home Care provides a home-safety assessment.
Treatment varies according to the diagnosis: “Some people, because of a stroke or weak muscles, need to re-educate their muscles and nerves to work together to improve balance,” says Heather Eble, physical therapist and manager of Virtua’s outpatient rehabilitation services.
Sometimes an underlying cause needs treatment. One treatable condition is benign positional vertigo caused by tiny calcium carbonate crystals that migrate into the inner ear canal. “A series of head movements relocate the crystals and stop the vertigo,” explains Heather. Once vertigo and dizziness stop, balance begins to improve and the risk for falling is reduced.
Don’t wait for a first fall that could be a last. If you feel dizzy or unsteady, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823) for an appointment with a Virtua specialist.
Prevent falls in your home
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to grip hardwood or tile floors
- Sit down to prepare your meals
- Install hand rails on stairs, in the bathroom and anywhere additional support is needed
- Put commonly used items in easy-to-reach places
- Use a shower chair and a hand-held shower hose
- Remove or tack down area rugs
- Use a night light
- Ensure there is adequate space between furniture
- Use a “reacher” to pick up out-of-reach items
- Make sure your home is well lit
- Make sure the garage floor is not slippery
- Use a cane or walker as prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist
Updated March 15, 2017