One day you’re doing just fine, getting on with your usual daily routine, and then you have a fall at home which changes everything. Recovering from a fall can be a long and painful process. While getting older can often mean having balance problems, this doesn’t mean having a fall is inevitable. Try using this fall prevention checklist, and your chances of having a fall at home will be considerably lower.

As you walk around your house, go into each room and ask yourself the questions below. Once you’re done, make a to-do list of all the fixes you need to make your home safer.

 

Your stairs and steps: indoors and outdoors

1. Are any steps broken or uneven?
If they are, it’s time to get them fixed.

2. Is there a light and light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs?
If not, hire an electrician to fit an overhead light and light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. You can even invest in light switches that glow, so you can more easily see them in the dark.

3. Is the stairway light bulb working?
If it isn’t, have a friend or family member replace the bulb with a new one.

4. Is the carpet on the steps loose or torn?
If not, ensure the carpet is securely attached to each step, or alternatively, remove the stairway carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads instead.

5. Are the handrails loose or broken?
If they are, get them fixed.

6. Are there handrails on both sides of the stairs?
If not, get new handrails fitted and make sure they are as long as the stairway.

 

Your floors

1. Do you have to walk around the furniture whenever you walk through a room?
If you do, ask someone to shift your furniture to create a clear path for you.

2. Do you have throw rugs on the floor?
If you do, either use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing to prevent them from slipping, or remove them altogether.

3. Are there any objects on the floor that are trip hazards such as papers, shoes, or books?
If so, pick them up and try your best to keep objects off the floor.

4. Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords such as telephone or lamp wires or extension cords?
If you do, tape cords and wires to the wall, or hire an electrician to put in another outlet so you don’t have wires crossing your path in a room.

 

Your kitchen

1. Are the items you most often use on high shelves?
If so, move them down to lower shelves, which are at about waist height.

2. Is your step stool sturdy?
If you have to use a step stool to reach things on higher shelves, get one that has a bar you can hold on to, and never use a chair as a step stool.

 

Your bedrooms

1. Is the light closest to your bed hard to reach?
If so, move it closer, so you can reach it easily.

2. Is the path from your bed to the bathroom well lit?
If not, put in nightlights.

 

Your bathroom

1. Is the bathtub or shower floor slippery?
If it is, use a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor.

2. Do you need support to get in and out of the bathtub or to get up from the toilet?
If you do, have grab bars installed next to the toilet and bathtub, as well as in the bathtub.

Now that you’ve got your to-do list ready, make sure you get the help you need to check them all off.

Creating a safer home isn’t all you can do to reduce your chances of having a fall. It is equally as important to deal with the root cause of any dizziness or imbalance issues you may have.

At Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat, we can offer you a number of advanced tests to find out what is causing your dizziness and ultimately get you the treatment you need. So for balance testing in Arizona using state-of-the-art technology, call us now at 480-684-1080 to schedule your appointment.

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Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie, MD

Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie, MD

Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie is board certified in otolaryngology and treats a broad range of ear, nose, and throat conditions. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she completed her residency in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.