“Hi. I’d like to order HipSavers for my mother. I’ve managed to convince her to wear them whenever she goes out shopping,” says the caller. When it is suggested that wearing them 24/7 is advisable, this is what we hear more often than not: “She’s alright in the house, you know, it’s all familiar. She’s just afraid to go outside in case she falls.”
According to the Canada Safety Council, falls account for more than half of the injuries in people 65 years of age and older. The majority of those falls happen in the home and frequently involve stairs. We may feel safe in our homes but the challenges of age often mean that we shuffle instead of taking deliberate steps, the edges of stairs aren’t as well defined as they used to be because our vision has declined and urge incontinence means we rush to the bathroom, often in the middle of the night. Recipes for disaster each and every one.
Taking some time with your son or daughter to walk through your house or apartment is a worthwhile exercise. Make certain that pathways are wide and clear, get rid of throw rugs, make sure than lamp cords are tucked away so as not to be a trip hazard and define the edges of steps by painting them with a contrasting colour. I recently put reflective tape on the edges of my outside steps for my aging golden retriever and it makes a huge difference, especially at dusk. For more tips visit the Canada Safety Council at http://www.safety-council.org/info/seniors/prevent.html.
Last but not least, wear your HipSavers 24 hours each day, 7 days each week. If you live in your own home, your safety is your responsibility.