As you have learned from our December Education Journal, one of Harmony’s 5-Point Assessment Fall Prevention Program is Environmental Assessment. Falls often occur because of environmental risk factors and Harmony is dedicated to working with you to identify and reduce your fall risk factors, to create a safer environment.
One of the most important and easy safety interventions is to Light Up Your Home, especially inside your home. As shared last month, 55% of falls occur inside the home.1 Inadequate lighting is a major culprit of falls. Part of your in-home environmental assessment includes evaluation of your lighting to avoid falls at night, which we want to help you avoid.
Here are some practical tips that I shared with my all patients who attended my Falls Prevention Clinic that they found were really helpful, acceptable, and feasible to make. I share these with you to increase your safety and avoid those falls that too frequently occur at night.
- Increase your automatic night lights, such as motion-sensor lighting1: bathrooms, kitchen, hallways and your bedroom. Many of us get up during the night to get a drink of water, to go to the bathroom, or maybe to get up when we have trouble sleeping. These extra soft lights helps you to see where you are going so you can avoid tripping or slipping.
- Consider having a touch-sensitive lamp at your bedside, so that when you wake-up, all you have to do is touch your lamp for lighting, rather than trying to find the light switch. If you are getting up and in a hurry, we don’t want you to fumble trying to find the light switch.
- Replace light switches, especially in your bathroom, with glow-in-the-dark switches so that you (or your guests) can find wall switches easily in the dark or dimly lighted rooms. This way, you don’t have to feel along the wall to find your light switch.
- Always keep a working flashlight in your bedside night stand, so that you can easily access a flashlight should you have a power outage. Check your flashlight monthly to make sure your batteries are working.
- If you have stairs in your home, the National Council on Aging also recommends to have a light switch at the top AND the bottom of your staircase, 2 so that you always turn on the staircase lights before you go up or down the stairs.
Harmony is committed to working with you to identify, modify and reduce your fall risk factors, so that ultimately your falls are prevented, and you can feel safe and confident when you do have to get up during the night.
Your Harmony Team is here to help you! Making these simple changes inside your home is so important.
I hope that you will take a few minutes and respond to this message, and share other lighting changes that have worked for you.
When you share, everyone learns together.
Thank you for reading this message and in advance for sharing with others.
1 Pynoos, J., Steinman, B., & Nguyen, A. (2010). Assessment and modification as fall-prevention strategies for older adults. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 26: 633-644.
2 National Council on Aging. 6 Steps for preventing falls among your older loved ones. Here Accessed January 17, 2020.