October is “Falls Prevention Month,” so it’s appropriate that we focus on eliminating as many possible tripping, collision, and poor footing conditions for people as we can – including those present in our own homes.
Nevertheless, falls do happen so just think how much more they might occur or how much more serious or debilitating they might be if we weren’t focused on preventing and eliminating as many potential trips and falls as we can.
There are just so many things in and about a person’s home – let alone places away from the home – that can cause accidents to happen. All falls and slips are uncomfortable – if not embarrassing – but not all are injurious. Many are.
Sometimes it’s just a slip or a fall that produces no lasting effects – maybe just a bruise or a light muscle strain, if anything. Sometimes, the strain or sprain can be a little more severe. Sometimes, a broken bone or dislocation results. Falls are even more serious if someone hits their head on someone as they fall. .
Regardless of the severity of a fall or slip, the objective is to eliminate as many potential causes for such conditions as we can. There are the obvious ones such as extension or power cords that cross a passageway, or a hose stretched across the sidewalk. There are pools of water from rain or lawn and garden watering that can look simple enough to walk on or through but become problematic.
Toys, clothing and outerwear, tools, groceries before they are put away, and things on their way to the garage, attic, closet, basement, or car can cause someone to trip over them or misstep as they try to walk around or avoid them.
Loose carpeting or flooring, tears in carpeting or vinyl flooring, glare from shiny surfaces, and throw or area rugs (or ones with the corners curled up) can present navigation issues in the home. Wet flooring in the bathroom or from moisture tracked in from the outside (near exterior doorways) can lead to slips.
In short, the idea that someone’s home is their castle or sanctuary comes with no guarantees. It isn’t automatically true. There are so many things going on – nearly constantly – that we need to watch out for and then correct to keep our homes relatively safe. Then we need to take those lessons and apply them to our clients’ homes.
Safety is not an easy proposition – necessary, but not easy.