Falling is a serious health hazard for senior citizens. The CDC reports that over 36 million falls occur among adults over the age of 65 and 1 in 5 of those falls result in serious injury. The best way to avoid this major health risk is to take steps toward fall prevention before something serious happens. If you or a loved one is at risk of falling in their home, there are steps you can take to help reduce falls and create a safer environment for the elderly loved one in your life.
Falling can even result in death, and those rates are only going up. In the last 10 years, there has been a 30% increase in death by falling. These numbers are just too high to leave to chance! It’s imperative that your loved one is protected from hazards in the home that could increase the likelihood of having a falling accident that could result in serious injuries or death.
Here are some steps you can take to increase safety awareness and prevent falls in the home:
1. Stair Management
Stairs are the most common and most dangerous place for seniors to fall. For this fall prevention step, we recommend adding handrails on all steps, as well as non-skid step edges. It’s important that all barriers and banisters are securely fastened, as that could save a life someday.
If falls in the home are becoming a higher risk, consider moving bedrooms downstairs. Other solutions are to install a chair lift or move to a one-story home, both of which can be costly solutions. If steps are steep, we recommend making sure the elderly don’t have to continually go up and down the stairs to perform daily tasks.
2. Rugs, Carpets, and Mats
Check all mats and rugs throughout the house for any slip risk and make sure there is non-skid padding under all rugs and carpets. Consider placing non-slip mats in any areas that could potentially get slippery from water, such as the bathtub, in front of the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom, and near the toilet.
Carpet in the home can be helpful for reducing the likelihood of serious injury due to the softer surface. If the home already has carpet installed in the main rooms, it’s best to leave the carpet just in case there is a fall.
3. Bathroom Safety
The bathroom can become a dangerous place for senior citizens, especially those who live alone. Rails in the shower can be a very helpful addition for fall prevention, as well as the aforementioned mats.
Also, we recommend purchasing a tub bench so the elderly can sit while bathing themselves in the shower and reduce the risk of drowning in a full bathtub.
4. Easily Accessible Lights
It’s important that if you or a loved one have to get up for any reason during the night, there are easy-to-access or automated lights nearby. Keeping a home well-lit and with lights that are convenient to reach is crucial to fall prevention. This is an important step and can help save your loved ones’ life.
We recommend getting nightlights for the hallway and to frequently accessed rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen. There are lights that have sensors to save power during the day and only activate at night.
5. Reduce Clutter
Reducing clutter throughout the home and having clear pathways is very important for fall prevention. Many senior citizens who fall in their home fall because they’ve tripped over something that was on the floor or hurt themselves running into cluttered areas.
Keep your home free of loose cords, excessive furniture, and/or daily mess. Having shelves for items that could be placed on the floor (for example, laundry) is a helpful way to reduce clutter in your home and reduce the number of objects to accidentally trip over.
If you or a loved one are dealing with difficulties preparing the home for fall prevention or need some extra help, the friendly staff at Reflections Management and Care is here for you. We know how stressful, confusing, and scary it can be to have to take care of an aging parent. Our caring and professional staff takes care of your loved one like our own family.
Our senior home health care services are second-to-none, and we pride ourselves on our thorough care. Have more questions about fall prevention or how we can help take care of your elderly loved one? Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have.