High Contrast Environment

According to the CDC, 1 out of 3 adults over the age of 65, fall each year. And from those, approximately 20-30% suffer from injuries such as hip fractures, lacerations, and head traumas.

For most people, even if no injuries occur from the fall, will develop a fear for falling. That fear can develop into a fear of leaving the house, or decreasing involvement in regular exercises, which in turn, increases the risk of falling again due to lowered fitness level.

Falls are Preventable

Luckily, falls are preventable!

A few months ago, I came across an article that talks about the importance of fall prevention. The article discusses actions that a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) took to improve the living environment for their residents.

Facilities work hard to keep residents living independently. They constantly evaluate residents to find those growing less steady and less mobile. If a cane or walker is needed, a staff member will suggest it to the resident.

Even the housekeepers and staff are trained to inspect for quiet hazards - scatter rugs that seem easy to trip on, or furniture that could topple if grabbed for support.

It's important that seniors take these suggestions and apply the same knowledge to their home. The goal is to create the home to age well which does not mean that you have to sacrifice style.

I loved this article. It acknowledges the importance of fall prevention and moving the aging society towards a healthier direction.

How to Prevent Falls

Here are few classic routes to staying safe and independent:

Proper placement to prevent falls
Proper placement to prevent falls

  • Exercise daily
  • Get an annual medical check-up
  • Get an eye exam
  • Assess and modify the environment

Change and modify the home to make it safer for aging. These include:

  • Remove tripping hazards (rugs, cable cords, stools, etc.)
  • Create high contrast (large color difference) environments

Here are examples and ways to make a high contrast (HC) environment without sacrificing design and style.

Toilet Seat:

Since most standard toilets are white on white, creating HC on seats can be as simple as putting on a colored cover on the seat. In this example, the seat is blue which is entirely distinguishable from the rest of the background. One thing to avoid is patterns since patterns may create confusion for people with impaired vision.

Stairs:

Staircases/steps in the home can be different colors like the image above. If the stairs are wood, use colored tape and place it at the edge of each step. If the stairs are carpeted, use colored tape on them too.

By placing colored tape at the edge of each step, people experience a defined distinction at each level. It is also important to put tapes on lower threshold measures like those small random bumps before a walk-in shower stall or steps between rooms/doors.

Pets:

We love our pets! But sometimes, they can be hazardous. With little animals running around at our feet, it can get distracting and cause loss of balance. For safety purpose, sit while enjoying your pet.

I hope you will find this article useful! Preventing a fall is important, and a fall is a huge risk, as one gets older. Become aware of how to stop falls before one occurs. It will lead you to live a fall-free life!



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