When bones are weakened from osteoporosis, the slightest fall can cause a broken bone, and this means a minimum of six weeks of recovery time. That is why it is so important to those with this disease to do their best to ensure falls, or even minor bumps or strains, do not occur.
There are measures that can be taken, both in and out of the house, and some personal habits that may need to be altered, to ensure the safety and continued health of anyone suffering from osteoporosis.
Stairs are always a cause of concern. Handrails are necessary on both sides of the stairs. Secure carpeting will also help to prevent a fall. Keeping them well-lit, with switches on the top and bottom of the staircase, is also important.
Grab bars by the toilet, and in the bathtub and shower are a necessity. Also, rubber mats in the tub and shower will help to reduce the likelihood of a fall, and if needed, chairs designed for use when bathing are also available.
If it is possible, place the bed near the light switch, or have a lamp next to it. A flashlight next to the bed is a good idea, in case of a power outage. Don’t rise too quickly when lying or sitting on the bed, as this could result in dizziness, and cause a fall.
Be sure all floors are clear of unnecessary items, including wires or cords, and loose rugs to prevent slip and fall accidents. Another floor-safety measure is to enhance visibility in dark areas. Floor marking, such as glow-in-the-dark tape, uses a unique phosphor that can absorb light, and glows when the lights are out. It can then be trailed in the dark, to other areas of the house. This is an excellent safety precaution in a blackout, so a person can still find their way throughout the house in an emergency.
When venturing out into the backyard, there are also some safety measures that can be taken to prevent injury. Wearing low-heeled shoes is a good idea, especially if they have rubber soles, as this provides more traction. Railings on the stairs of decks or porches, and all around the perimeter, are a necessity.
Keep these areas, and the rest of the yard and walkways, free of any items that could trip someone. If leaving the home, and not planning to return until after dark, be sure to turn on an outdoor light.
Other Safety Measures
If spills occur, be sure to clean them up immediately. Keep all rooms well-lit. Carry a cell or a cordless phone, or purchase a personal alert system that can be worn at all times. Only use a step stool when necessary, and be sure it is sturdy, with wide steps and a handrail.
Either wear shoes, or go barefoot, rather than wearing socks or stockings, to prevent slipping. If feeling a bit unsteady, use a walker or a cane for support, and wear hip protectors to prevent any injury if a fall does occur. Keep often-used items within reach, or use a grasping tool with a long handle to reach them.
There are some personal habits that should be either avoided or changed when a person has osteoporosis. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum, because of the risk of disorientation and confusion, and because it can actually cause bone loss.
It is always better to slow down and be safe than to hurry and cause an injury. Exercise regularly, and eat healthy and balanced meals. The recommended daily amounts of calcium in foods, and the vitamin D from healthy amounts of sunshine, can also help to keep bones as healthy as possible.