Senior Safety – Four Things To Help Prevent Falls In The Home For Seniors
Senior safety is an important topic because when it comes to senior fall statistics, the numbers are staggering. One out of three seniors over age 65 falls every year, and more than 2.5 million seniors who fall end up in emergency departments for treatment, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, one in five of these falls results in serious injury, such as stroke, bone fractures, or internal bleeding. Although falls remain the leading cause of injury and traumatic brain injury among older adults, falls are entirely preventable. To help protect your elderly loved ones, follow these steps today.
1. Clean up Spills and Clutter Immediately.
Spills pose serious slipping hazards. All spills should be cleaned up as soon as they occur. Furthermore, the elderly should avoid using the “foot-and-towel” method to clean up spilled liquids. Use a long-handled mop to prevent slips when cleaning up these messes. When physical things spill, such as grandchildren’s toys, puzzle pieces, or utensils, a “grabber” can be used to help pick up the pieces without the strain of bending down. Family members should also help the elderly keep walkways and floors clutter-free. This will eliminate the possibility of forgetting to clean up the mess.
2. Help the Elderly See Well.
Vision changes with age, and these changes can be more pronounced if cataracts develop. Seniors should see an optometrist at least annually, and glasses should be used as prescribed. Additionally, motion- or clap-activated lighting and night-lights can help the elderly see easier when getting up during the night or low-light times.
3. Make Preventing Falls a Priority with the Primary Care Physician.
Medications and medical illnesses can increase the risk for falls. Certain medications may cause dizziness, and many medical conditions can result in fatigue. Visit with your loved one’s physician about how medications and medical conditions may affect mobility and independence. In some cases, the physician may be able to prescribe a different medication to reduce risk for falls. Physical therapy and exercise can also help to reduce the risk from an illness- or medication-related fall.
4. Eliminate Hazards in the Home.
Steps, staircases, loose carpeting, unsecured rugs, slick surfaces, and unstable railings increase the likelihood of a fall. Family members should eliminate the following fall-hazards in the home:
- Loose carpeting should be secured, and all rugs should have a non-slip backing. This will help keep the rug in-place on smooth surfaces.
- Steps, staircases, and railings should be frequently checked for strength and stability. If possible, consider installing a home elevator, a stairlift, or even a wheelchair lift.
- For places where only a few steps are present, such as a porch or atrium, consider installing a low-incline ramp.
- In bathrooms, install hand-grips and non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
Carefully consider the benefits and risks for each solution to these hazards as well. For example, a ramp may not be the best option if your loved one suffers from severe heart problems, but a stairlift may do the trick.
More than 700,000 seniors are admitted to hospitals annually from falls, but you can work to prevent falls and in-home injuries to your loved ones by following these four steps. To learn more about preventing in-home falls, contact Virginia Home Elevator, Stairlift, and Ramp today.