How safe is our own home? Not safe at all, actually!
Here is an interesting statistic to justify this.
70% of serious injuries, requiring emergency room visits and often surgery, happen within or just out of 30 yards of your home, with the most common being hip or other fractures, and traumatic brain injuries.
It doesn’t matter the size of your home, if you are 55 or over, you are part of a very vulnerable population.
If you can take the necessary steps to be proactive, it can mean the difference between getting hurt or not. How do you do that?
Stay in the Moment
You need to always be aware of what is going on, with you and around you. Your mind wandering can lead to a fall.
You need to pay attention to all steps and use railings whenever accessible. There can be defects in carpeting or step risers. Always be on the lookout. If you feel the least bit dizzy, stop for a few moments, be sure you have a firm grip on the railing, take a deep breath and then slowly and carefully, continue on.
If you still feel uneasy, just sit down right where you are and call for help.
As with any other daily event, for instance, preparing a meal, driving a car or even crossing a familiar street, you must stay in the moment!
Stop, Look and Listen
Teach yourself to stop for a second, look around at your surroundings, and, if appropriate, listen.
For example, when entering your own living room, particularly when the lights aren’t on, think before you proceed – you may have left something out of place and in your way.
Or, when you’re in your car, while still in park, take a good look all around, and listen to your surroundings (as all cars have a blind spot).
Remember, stop, look and listen!
The Three-Look Method
This method is extremely important when entering any room, familiar or not.
- Look Low: At floor, street or rug level – is there anything that might give you a problem (loose rugs, high curbs, objects left around)?
- Look Level: At about chair height – is anything in your way?
- Look Up: Toward the ceiling. Is there enough light for you to continue safely?
If you consistently follow this method, you will most likely avoid injury.
If someone rings your doorbell, don’t race to open the front door. Even if there is an emergency, don’t ever rush or run.
OK, so you if you have fallen, what do you do?
The following steps will help you.
- Step One: Don’t move. Stay exactly where you have fallen. Take a few deep breaths, then, if you have one on you, use your medic-alert call device or your cell phone and get help. If not, yell and then yell again. Sooner or later someone is bound to hear you.
- Step Two: Do not try to get up immediately, until you’ve accomplished step three.
- Step Three: Assess yourself to see how/where you may be injured. You should be able to tell if you are badly hurt or whether or not you’ve broken a bone. If help hasn’t come, repeat step one until it does.
If you’ve discovered that you aren’t seriously injured, and if no one has come yet to help, follow these measures:
Inside Your Home:
Roll onto your side.
Bend your knees up to your waist.
Slowly work your way over to the nearest stable object (for example a chair or bed).
Reach up and grab the object firmly while still on your side.
Scrunch up close to the object.
Using your free hand as a push-up and the object in the other, roll over onto your knees.
If you succeed, use both hands on the object to help you rise to a standing position and then turn and sit as soon as possible.
Outside Your Home:
Before you allow someone to try to help you, do a self-assessment first.
Accept a coat or jacket, if offered.
By this time, someone will probably have called 911. If you have any doubts, stay down.
If you think you are able to get up, use the nearest person as you would a chair in your own home.
Don’t ever be embarrassed to let others help you. However, if there’s any doubt in your mind about your injury, wait for the EMT people to arrive.