Community Blog

How Can You Help Prevent Falls in the Yard?

By Vicki and Brian Day

Elderly Care in Orefield PA

Each year millions of adults over the age of 64 throughout the United States suffers a fall. Approximately 20 percent of those falls will result in a serious injury such as a broken bone or a traumatic head injury. Even more unfortunate is that once a senior falls, they are at more than twice the risk of falling again, and with each subsequent fall the risk of suffering a serious injury increases. 

Suffering from a fall can greatly diminish your parent's quality of life. They may fear another fall and stop being as active as they once were, or experience an injury that is serious enough that it permanently impacts their mobility and range of motion. For those who experience a hip fracture, the risk of dying within the next calendar year is dramatically increased. Taking steps to reduce your parent's fall risk is an important part of keeping them safe, healthy, and active throughout their later years.

Some ways that you can make meaningful modifications that help prevent falls in the yard so that your parent can enjoy it with you or with the help of an elderly care provider include:

Remove debris. Go through your parent's lawn regularly and remove debris that might end up there due to storms, wind, or other issues. This includes branches, fallen plants, and stumps, as well as excessive growth of bushes, vines, and others. Make sure that you also keep items such as hoses away from walking areas.

Keep decorations out of the way. Lawn decorations are fantastic, but if they are kept too close to areas of the lawn where your parent may walk they could pose a serious tripping hazard. Make sure that any lawn ornaments, statues, or other items are kept at a distance from sidewalks, porches, or areas of the lawn where your parent might walk.

Avoid sprinklers. Keeping the lawn fresh-looking and green is a great way to make your parent feel wonderful about their home. A sprinkler system that includes sprinkler heads embedded in the lawn, however, can be hazardous for your parent. Your senior could trip over the head or could step on it and injure themselves. If you must water the lawn, choose a sprinkler that you put out when the lawn needs water and then put away when it is finished.

Ensure proper lighting. Low vision is common among elderly adults and a frequent contributor to falls. To help reduce the chances that your parent will fall when out enjoying the lawn in the low lighting conditions of the very early morning, evening, or night, make sure that the area is well lit. Select efficient LED lights for energy savings.

Install secure handrails. The entryway of your parent's home is also an important area when it comes to safety. If there are steps leading into the home, make sure that the handrails are strong and secure. Remember that your parent may suddenly grasp the handrail to compensate for losing balance or their footing, and if the handrail gives out the fall will be much more severe. Ensure the handrails are installed properly and that they are rated to handle an adequate amount of weight.