Have you ever been in a home outfitted to prevent falls? If so, you might not have noticed. Why? Because today’s fall prevention products often “hide” in plain sight. That is, they work in tandem with ordinary furniture, rather than operating as stand-alone products.
There are several reasons why subtle additions to furniture are popular. The first is vanity. Nobody wants to be reminded of their age or injury by the sight of a big, foreign contraption. It looks too much like nursing home equipment. However, when products to prevent falls blend in with furniture, people are less resistant to using them.
A second reason is space. Often, seniors downsize their homes as they get older. In keeping with that, fall safety products that work with furniture conserve valuable floor and wall space.
A third reason for using fall prevention products on furniture is cost. Staying at home or “aging in place” is generally cheaper than moving into an assisted living community. A home outfitted to prevent falls will allow someone to stay in it longer. This is especially true as life expectancies in the U.S. keep rising, with very old (85+) as the fastest growing demographic.
Of course the true value of fall prevention products is safety. With that in mind, here are three things to do when outfitting furniture:
▪ Ask: or study the person’s living habits. Outfit the most-used furniture first — bed, favorite chair, toilet — before moving to less-used pieces.
▪ Train: show the person who will be using the product how it works. Monitor and encourage them until using the product is an ingrained habit. Research says habits take on average 21 days to build.
▪ Verify: test and inspect fall safety products before using. You want to make sure that all furniture is stable enough to support fall prevention products.
With the new crop of fall prevention products, outfitting furniture is easy and unobtrusive.