How Can Falls Be Reduced for Seniors?
As adults enter their golden years, they are more prone to suffering from falls due to changes in physical ability and health conditions. Sometimes certain medications contribute to seniors’ fall risks as well. Falls can result in minimal harm like bruises or more severe damage like broken bones. In fact, for adults 65 years and older, falls are the top cause for injuries ― both fatal and nonfatal.
Because of the high falling risk among seniors, it is important that family and friends do what they can to help their elderly loved one reduce their fall risk. While it may seem like a somewhat daunting task, there are simple things you can do for fall prevention.
Address Falling Hazards in the Home
Fall prevention is all about lessening the risk for falls, so it is important to eliminate the potential causes.
If you are concerned about your elderly relatives suffering from a fall, consider removing loose area rugs that they may trip over. If your loved one insists on keeping the rugs, secure them with slip-resistant backing. Keep an eye out for any other flooring concerns, such as loose floorboards and carpeting and fix them promptly. For wooden stairs, consider adding non-slip matting to prevent falls.
Furthermore, keep items out of walkways. For example, electrical cords for electronics and other equipment tend to be lengthy, so they sometimes stick out in the open. This can easily cause any person to trip and fall, so do what you can to keep the cords concealed and close to the walls.
Add More Light Throughout the Home
Nighttime can be an uneasy time for some seniors due to the innate lack of lighting. With less light, it is much easier for them to fall and suffer an injury. However, this can easily be prevented by adding more light to the home, especially in areas like stairwells where falls are more likely. In addition, consider replacing standard light switches with illuminated ones so they are easy to find in the dark.
Add night lights throughout the home to provide some light when main lights cannot be kept on. These should be placed in bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
Install Assistive Devices in the Home
Aside from lighting, there are numerous other things you can add to your elderly loved one’s home to help with fall prevention.
In stairways, there should be handrails installed ― ideally on both sides ― so that seniors have something to grab on to while going up or down the stairs. In the bathroom, consider adding grab bars. Elderly individuals can easily suffer a fall in the bath or shower because of the water and these grab bars can provide stability to prevent falls. A shower seat and non-slip mat for the tub are also helpful safety accessories.
Engage in Physical Activity
While getting up to move and engage in physical activity can seem daunting to an elderly individual with a high risk of falling, it can actually help with fall prevention.
With doctor approval, seniors should partake in light exercise and physical activity, such as walking and tai chi. While not vigorous movement, these activities help elderly individuals improve their balance, coordination, flexibility, and strength ― which reduces one’s falling risk.
Speak to Medical Personnel About Medications and More
Certain prescriptions and other medications can have side effects that increase a person’s risk for falling. Knowing this, when seniors visit their doctor’s office for an appointment, make sure they or a loved one ask about whether medications might be increasing their fall risk. Doctors may make changes to their prescriptions, potentially stopping specific medications altogether, to help prevent falls.
Additionally, seniors should discuss their health conditions with their doctor to see in what ways they are affecting their risk of falling.
Invest in Sensible Footwear
While a person’s strength, balance, and mobility are important for fall prevention, the shoes that the individual is wearing can also make a legitimate difference.
Seniors should not be wearing just socks as they make their way around their home. They might be comfortable to wear, but they are not sensible and safe. Invest in footwear with good traction that elderly individuals can wear in their home. If they really prefer socks, purchase some non-slip socks that have grips on the bottom.
Professional Elderly Fall Prevention and Home Care Services from Assisting Hands
If you are concerned about your elderly loved ones suffering from a fall in their home, the aforementioned tips can help with fall prevention. Home care services can also be of great benefit to seniors with a high risk of falling.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we provide fall prevention services in Fort Worth, TX, to help elderly individuals remain safe at home. Within these services, our professional in-home caregivers will work to ensure your loved one’s homes are safe and clutter-free to limit the risk of falls. Additionally, we can provide elderly care assistance which includes help with personal care, meal preparation, and light housekeeping among other things. With home care services from Assisting Hands, you can feel content knowing your elderly loved one is safe and cared for at home