Everybody’s taken a fall or two over the course of their lives. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more severe the consequences can be.
Nearly one-third of older people fall every year, most of which occur inside their homes. These falls can result in serious injuries or even death or be the beginning of chronic problems that could last a lifetime.
A new study, however, says that five steps can cut the risk of falls by more than a quarter: decluttering, reducing tripping hazards, improving lighting, adding handrails along stairways, and adding non-slip strips to stairs.
The review found that people most at risk of falls like those recently hospitalized for a fall or those needing support for daily activities like getting dressed, would get the most benefit from decluttering.
They found that measures like wearing the proper prescription eyewear or special footwear did not make a difference.
Researchers reached their conclusions after analyzing 22 studies that included data on more than 8,400 people living at home.
Further, they found that reducing falls around the house cut the risk by 38 percent in the highest-risk people.
Cleaning up clutter may be the easiest way to limit falls. Most people don’t really notice clutter in their homes or realize that things they used to do, like climbing ladders or getting up on footstools, become more dangerous with age or limited mobility.
If mobility is holding you back from removing clutter and tidying up, contact a family member or service to help you.
If you’re still at relatively low risk for falls, you can reduce future risks by working on muscle strength and agility to improve balance. Building muscle in the legs and improving your ability to switch directions can help you stay upright and catch yourself in case of a misstep.