According to the US National Library of Medicine, falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injury among adults age 65 years and older. Things like unsecured rugs, damaged carpet, and loose cords make it easier for individuals to trip and ultimately injure themselves. While we may think that our home is safe, if we take a closer look at it, we may find several red flags just lying around.
When we begin to look at making our bedrooms safer, furniture is a great place to start. We can do this by looking at the most important piece in the room, the bed.
To begin with, bedding should be short enough on the bed that it does not lay on the floor, this will help to avoid getting tangled in the extra fabric. Also, make sure that you have the right size bed for your height. “The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund recommends beds should be 20 to 23 inches high from the floor to the top of the mattress.” (easyrest.com)
If you struggle to get in and out of bed, consider purchasing a SafetySure Bed Pull-Up that will help you to slowly rise in your bed. It’s also great for building upper body strength. A Transfer Handle Bed Rail can also help you to sit up and transition smoothly from your bed to walker, wheelchair, or cane.
When it comes to other furniture in your room, your nightstand should be a solid piece that will be able to withstand your weight if you need to use it to stand or gain your balance. If you have a sturdy chair, consider putting it in your bedroom so that you can use it to sit on or hold on to while getting dressed.
To avoid falling in any room, you will want to make sure that the room is well lit. Place lamps strategically around the bedroom to avoid having to walk through the room in the dark. Adding nightlights to your walk path will provide you with just enough light to the bathroom for any of those middle of the night visits.
Other Red Flags
Other items to consider when looking for potential red flags around your bedroom are electronic cords, piles of clothes, laundry baskets, pets, and loose rugs. Electronic cords are very easy to trip over, so you will want to make sure that they are safely tucked behind the machine that they belong to. Consider using zip ties to gather the cords up, and place them behind their specific device or lamp. This will make them look more tidy and organized, and the risk of tripping over them will be greatly reduced.
Try to avoid having a lot of excess stuff in your bedroom if you can. Keeping laundry and bags picked up off the floor will not only make your room feel better, but it will also become safer for you.
Next, you will want to make sure that if you have any pets that sleep in your room with you, that they sleep off to the side, away from your walking path. As a secondary measure, turn on a light when getting up during the night to make sure they are easier to spot and out of your way.
Finally, Loose rugs can easily be tripped over, especially if they get bunched up. A good way to remedy this problem is to “Remove carpet or use carpet tape to secure the edges of carpet and area rugs to prevent rugs from slipping, buckling, or turning up in the corners.” (easyrest.com)
While we may make every effort possible to make our homes safer, we are human, and cannot avoid some injury. However, by taking a look around your bedroom with these tips in mind, you may be able to mitigate some of the risks in your home now to avoid the fall later.
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This blog was written by contributing author Sarah Bowman; a stay-at-home mom turned business owner of Sarah Bowman Assisting.