8 Ways to Prevent Senior Falls in the Home
Many moves to skilled nursing or assisted living residences can be attributed to previous falls in the home. In fact, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, and one out of every three adults age 65 and older fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Injuries from a fall can be very serious and in some cases life-altering. Often falls go unnoticed and family members may never know about the incident, which could result in more severe complications or even hospitalizations down the road.
While not every fall can be prevented, there are many things that can be done to minimize the risks in a senior’s home to help reduce the possibility of falls. Take a look at these tips for fall prevention for seniors:
- Keep walkways and staircases free of clutter; remove any items that might cause tripping hazards or make it difficult to maneuver through the home. Rugs, carpets and floor mats should be secured, or even removed.
- Install light switches at both the top and bottom of staircases in easy-to-reach places. Glow-in-the-dark light switches are a great solution to keep staircases well lit.
- Install grab bars or safety rails in bathrooms for assistance. Shower chairs can provide a stable area to sit and avoid falls.
- Encourage your loved one to follow up with his or her eye care physician to maintain good vision and have prescription lenses checked on a regular basis.
- Keep all exposed hot water pipes covered to prevent injuries and burns, and keep the hot water heater off the highest setting to avoid accidental scalding.
- Place routinely used items like plates and drinkware, on lower shelves and cabinets. This prevents the use of step stools or losing balance from trying to reach items stored up high.
- Remind your loved ones to exercise caution when lifting or moving items or bringing in groceries.
- Ask your senior’s physician about a stretching program or exercise program to help him/her increase mobility and stamina.