Among independent seniors, accidental slips and falls at home are the leading causes of injury. These falls impact much more than just a senior’s physical wellbeing; they can also damage mental health. The good news is that most, if not all, falls within the home can be prevented.
Facts of Accidental Falls
Seniors who live at home, particularly those living alone, are at a much higher risk for slipping and falling. Some recent fall statistics include:
- 70 percent of all serious injuries that require emergency room visits and/or surgery occur inside or just 30 yards outside the home.
- The most common injuries seniors sustain from slip and fall accidents are hip, pelvic or other fractures, followed by traumatic brain injuries.
- Older adults who are ages 55 or over are at the highest risk for sustaining serious slip and fall injuries.
How Can Seniors and Caregivers Prevent Injuries?
Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding at-home falls among older adults. Let’s take a look at some simple tips that are sure to increase safety:
Seniors must always be mindful of their surroundings and even the people around them. For example, should a senior let her mind wander or get preoccupied with planning a mental shopping list, the lack of environmental focus can lead to disaster. Senior caregivers or older adults requiring in-home care should always:
- Pay close attention to the task at hand when climbing or descending a flight of stairs
- Use railings for added support and stability when taking the stairs
- Identify hazardous carpet or linoleum defects, then conduct repairs
- Avoid rushing anywhere – that includes the house, basement, stairs or outdoors
- Pay attention to gut feelings; if a situation makes a senior uneasy, call out for help
Stop, Look, Listen
Many times, taking a short pause to look around and absorb current surroundings can prevent hazardous at-home falls among seniors. For example, when entering a room, especially if the lights aren’t on, it’s a good time for seniors to slow down, locate the light switch and make it across the room safely.
In the beginning, all these safety rules may seem like a big waste of time. However, as they become automatic routines, seniors will feel more adept and, more importantly, have the tools to avoid unnecessary injuries.
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