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How to Fall-Proof Your Home

balance and dizziness

By Devin Wurman, DPT

September is Balance Awareness Month! The goal of this month is to raise awareness about vestibular and balance disorders, reduce the time it takes to diagnose a vestibular disorder, and help people who suffer from vertigo, dizziness and imbalance.

Did you know that one-third of Americans ages 65 and older fall each year?  In fact, falls are the leading cause of deadly injuries and are the most common cause of trauma-related hospitalizations.  So what organ in your body is responsible for helping you keep your balance?

It’s called the vestibular system.  This is the body’s balance organ.  It lies deep within the inner ear and various canals help sense direction and motion.  When these get out of balance, they can make you feel like you are spinning and falling.

You may not realize it, but your home could be filled with fall hazards! Take a look around each room in your house. There are easy changes you can make to prevent falls and ensure that you are keeping you and your loved one safe.

Fall-Proof Your Bathroom:

  • Place a slip-resistant rug next to the bathtub for safe exit and entry.
  • Use a non-slip runner mat or non-skid strips on the floor of your tub or shower.
  • Install grab bars for support inside the tub and next to the toilet.
  • Replace the glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.

Fall-Proof Your Stairs and Steps:

  • Always keep objects off stairs.
  • Fix any loose, uneven, or broken steps.
  • Provide enough light to see each stair and the top and bottom of the landings.
  • Make sure carpeting is firmly attached to every step.
  • Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs.

Fall-Proof Your Kitchen:

  • Never stand on chairs or boxes to reach cabinets or shelves. Use a step stool with a bar to keep yourself steady.
  • Store food, dishes, and cooking equipment in easy-to-reach places.
  • Clean up any liquids or food spilled on the floor immediately.

Fall-Proof Your Bedroom:

  • place your lamp and telephone close to your bed where you can easily reach them
  • Arrange clothes and other items in your closet so they are easy to reach.
  • Plug in a night light so you can see here you are walking in the dark
  • Have a designated space for shoes so that does not block the walking path

Fall-Proof your Living Area

  • Arrange your furniture so you have clear pathways
  • Remove area or throw rugs and use non-slip backing tape so the rugs don’t slip
  • Keep electrical and telephone cords out of walkways
  • Install light switches at the entrance to each room

Loudoun Sports Therapy Center has a Certified Vestibular Specialist on staff. Dr. Devin Wurman can evaluate you and determine what is causing your vestibular condition. Call 703-450-4300 TODAY to schedule your personalized evaluation.