Many things can cause falls in Seniors and none of them are fun. The good news is that with a few tips and preventative actions, you can help the senior in your life to avoid becoming injured from a fall.
Creating a Fall-Proof Home Environment
Most falls are caused by simple slips or loss of footing. When you think about the fall-proof home, you should picture even floor surfaces, no throw rugs, non-slip flooring and floors that are not waxed. This might be a bit challenging in some situations, but not impossible. Let’s look at a few simple things you can do to create a fall-proof environment for the senior loved one in your life.
• Make sure the living spaces in the home are clutter-free. There should be easy paths around furniture and all walkways and stairs should be completely free of toys, clutter, and other debris.
• Keep floors clean, but not waxed or slick. Shiny floors might look pretty, but most often, they are not safe.
• If there are any throw rugs or doormats, make sure there is skid-proof backing on them. This is usually made from rubber. If you don’t see any, you can easily use rubber sheets that line cabinets and make your own slip-proof backing.
• Make sure there is good lighting. Especially along steps and hallways. Installing motion-detected lighting can be helpful. If the senior resident walks near that space, the light automatically comes on.
• Use glow-in-the-dark tape to line the edges of any steps
• Install grip bars in tubs, hallways, beside toilets and showers, and other places that can feel precarious.
• If the senior is still bathing on their own, consider a shower bench for safety.
• This might seem obvious, but if light switches are not at easy entrance points to every room, you should have an electrician come to move them. Seniors should NEVER have to walk across a darkened room to find a light switch or lamp! Another option would be noise or voice-activated switches. When they talk or clap their hands, the lights would automatically come on.
• Organize closets and pantries so that items needed are easy to reach. If seniors have to bend down or reach up too high, the items should be moved to a safer level.
Here are some other great tips to keep the senior in your life safe and healthy!
1. Make sure they wear good non-slip shoes. Usually, sneakers or rubber soles are best.
2. Help them get regular exercise. This is the easiest way to prevent broken or fractured bones during a fall.
3. If mobility-assisting items such as walkers are prescribed, use them! This goes for canes and wheelchairs as well.
4. Visit the eye doctor often for vision checks. Older eyes can change faster than younger people, so this is especially important. Seniors need to make sure that their reading glasses or bifocals are kept up-to-date.
5. Keep track of medications! The older we get, the more prescriptions we are likely to take. If your older adult is on medication that could make them dizzy or sleepy, confused, or cause abrupt changes in blood pressure, they should be monitored after taking them. This is just another way to prevent falls! A checkup with a pharmacist or doctor once a year can help seniors ensure they are taking everything as they should be. If the senior has any impairments mentally, such as dementia, ALL medications should be administered by someone else, or organized in a pill box for each day of the week.
Finally, meeting regularly with the senior’s physician can be extremely helpful in preventing falls. Their doctor can also send someone to the home to do a mobility-check and assess the living environment for safety.
Our society has just accepted that seniors are going to fall and many of them will die in the hospital from broken hips, etc. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There is a lot you can do to prevent these falls and keep your loved ones safe. The number one reason for ER visits by seniors has to do with injuries from a fall. Let’s keep our senior loved ones safe at home for as long as possible!
Contact us today for more information on fall prevention among seniors!
Home Helpers of MetroWest is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Concord, Framingham, Lincoln, Marlborough, Natick, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston, Massachusetts.