Physical therapists help seniors with various problems: recovering from a stroke, building strength after a joint replacement and preventing falls.
As part of their efforts to keep you safe, specially trained physical therapists can evaluate your home for fall risks. Falls are the number one cause of disability in people over age 65.
During these appointments, your physical therapist will look for ways to make your home safer.
By following their advice, you can maintain your independence and stay healthy.
They may suggest you make changes such as:
Clear Area Rugs and Cords
If you have area rugs in your home, they need to be on a nonskid surface or removed from walkways.
These rugs can slip beneath your feet, throwing you off balance and putting you at risk for a fall.
Similarly, electric cords across walkways can trip you up.
These cords should be tucked away from where you step.
Removing just a few small pieces of furniture can give you more room to move around with a cane or walker.
It can also make it easier for you to move in safe ways from room to room.
Consider removing end tables, chairs or other small items to free up space for movement.
Add a Ramp to Your Front Door
Going upstairs outdoors, particularly in icy or rainy weather, can be risky for anyone.
A ramp with handrails can be safer and allow you to use a walker or wheelchair if you need one.
Aluminum ramps with nonskid surfaces can withstand the weather and help you go in and out of the house more easily.
Add Grab Bars in the Bathroom
Grab bars can make it easier to get up from the toilet, prevent you from falling in the shower and generally make the slippery floors safer.
These bars can be added in many places throughout your house, not just the bathroom.
In addition to these changes, your physical therapist can suggest exercises that help you build strength, improve balance and increase your range of motion.
Completing these exercises every day reduces your risk for falls so you can continue to live independently and safely in your own home.