Falls are very dangerous for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year and many lead to hospitalizations. Falls are a leading cause of death in the United States for the elderly, so it is crucial to do everything possible to avoid them. If you live nearby, you can fall proof your loved one’s home, but education is important too. Though he or she may be resistant to new ideas, it is essential to educate your loved one about the severe impact a fall can have on their health. That may help them to accept the importance of safety in the home.
Here are some tips that can help your loved one to avoid falls.
First, walk through the home while looking down. Look for the following and address them. There isn’t much room for negotiation because these are all fall hazards.
- Throw rugs: remove them.
- Lamp, TV and extension cords: remove them. If they can’t be removed, move the device nearer to the outlet. It may mean rearranging the room but it’s better than your loved one tripping and falling over them.
- Piles and stacks of anything: Newspapers, books, shoes, clothes, they tend to pile up and cause a fall hazard. Put them away and/or throw them out.
- Rugs on the stairs: Get rid of them.
- Curtains draping on the floor: They need to be shortened.
Next, walk through the home and look at the lighting.
- Is it bright?
- Are the table lamps within easy reach of chairs and the bed?
- Are there lighting fixtures without light bulbs?
- Do all light fixtures have the brightest bulb that is safely allowed?
- Is there automatic, bright lighting at all home entrances?
Mobility support is the next thing to look for as you review the home environment. Is the following needed to help your loved one as he or she gets up from a chair, the bed, the toilet, etc?
- Chair rails in the bathroom, tub and shower
- Supportive arms on the living room chair
- Arm chairs around the kitchen table
- Solid railings at all entrances to the home
There are a few other considerations that will help to prevent falls.
- Make sure your loved one has good footwear with a solid, non slip sole. This includes slippers.
- Encourage some sort of exercise. Chair yoga, walking, dancing, any movement will improve balance and core strength that can prevent falls.
If you can’t implement these safety measures, or meet too much resistance, call LivHOME. We are trained in fall prevention and conduct a home assessment. Then we will work with you and your loved one to fall proof the environment. LivHOME understands that change can be difficult. That’s why our caregivers are skilled at working with families and their aging loved ones to facilitate transitions and provide peace of mind.