The following resources can help you prevent falls by guiding you through prevention strategies, referring you to appropriate medical professionals, or helping you make your home more fall-resistant.
Guidelines on fall prevention from the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatric Society, including a Summary of Recommendations, are available online at www.americangeriatrics.org/health_care_professionals/clinical_practice/clinical_guidelines_recommendations/2010.
An online video from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, “Extra precautions cut risk of falls” (available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIDEHJ_ppjc&feature=relmfu), guides viewers through the actions one woman is taking to reduce her risk.
A tip sheet on fall prevention from the American Occupational Therapy Association notes steps you can take and explains how an occupational therapist can help. It is available online at http://aota.org/Consumers/consumers/Adults/ Falls/35156.aspx.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (http://aota.org) has several online forums, including “Practitioner,” in which people can ask an expert questions, at http://otconnections.aota.org/public_forums/default.aspx/.
EldercareLocator, available at www.eldercare.gov, lets people search for health services available in their community that are directed toward senior citizens.
Many cities have volunteer organizations that build wheelchair ramps for people with low incomes. They may also build ramps for people with movement difficulties. For example, Rebuilding Together North Central Florida (http://rebuildingtogetherncf.org) provides free resources for home modifications and repairs for older people, as does Christmas in Action (http://christmasinaction.org) in many communities across the United States. In addition, local civic and religious organizations (Elks, Shriners, Knights of Columbus, Rotary) may be able to offer assistance. For those who qualify, the USDA’s Rural Development division offers loans and grants for home improvement (www.rurdev.usda.gov/LP_Subject_HousingandCommunityAssistance.html). The Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov) offers grants to veterans with service-related disabilities for purchasing, building, or buying a home through its Specially Adapted Housing program.
A number of retailers offer adaptive equipment if you intend to make modifications on your own. Web sites such as Adaptive Access (www.adaptiveaccess.com) and Dynamic Living (www.dynamic-living.com) sell equipment such as handrails, grab bars, wheelchair ramps, and shower seats. Also consider looking for medical equipment suppliers in your area. Ask a trusted member of your health-care team for help, or seek out an occupational therapist to help you find the equipment and make the changes you need to make your home a low-risk zone.