Since falls are the leading cause of serious injury and even death in the over 65 set, you’ll want to be sure your home is free from all fall hazards. Here’s some fall prevention tips and ways to keep the home safe to ensure seniors and the elderly can stay living at home independently.
Make an appointment with your doctor to:
- Review medications and current health conditions which could cause imbalance and increase your chances of falling.
- Discuss the circumstances surrounding any recent or past falls and to strategize ways to avoid those circumstances. If necessary, your doctor may refer you to an occupational or physical therapist who can instruct on more detailed fall-prevention strategies.
Be active. A body (and mind) in motion stays in motion! Activity can play a major part in preventing falls.
Visit your local senior center or library to stay socially and physically active. Many offer activities like bus trips and weekly Thai Chi exercise classes which can help with balance, muscle tone, strength, and can increase bone mass.
And, speaking of exercising and movement, be sure to have properly fitted shoes.
Fall prevention footwear:
- Do: shoes with rubber soles, backs, ties and Velcro
- Avoid: slip on’s, flip flops, high heels, just socks or barefoot
- Make sure all paths around the home and all stairways are clear. If a walker is being used, make the path wider than the base of the walker.
- Items like throw rugs and extension cords can be hazardous. Remove loose rugs and, if using extension cords, make sure they are out of any major paths.
- Use glow in the dark tape or stickers to highlight differences in floor transitions.
Light the night AND day! Even if you are very familiar with your surroundings, lighting is essential in preventing falls. Open blinds and install motion sensor lighting, especially in stairwells and hallways that tend to be darker where fall hazards can easily be hidden. Plus, having adequate natural light can help alleviate any depression that can sneak up on seniors.
Install safety devices such as grab bars in the bathroom and a non-slip bath mat and shower seat.
Use walking devices. If you need a cane or walker, use it both indoors and outdoors! Falls can take place even on a very short walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Don’t let vanity get in the way of good health.
Even if a fall does not result in a serious injury or hospitalization, it could result in fear and/or damage to a person’s psyche, causing them to avoid socializing and living life to the fullest. So, act now to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Check out this video from The National Council on Aging, Preventing Falls
What ways have you found to help the seniors and elderly folks you love to stay happy and healthy and living in their own homes independently?