You just got a phone call at work because your elderly father fell at home, hit his head and had to be rushed to the emergency room. Dad’s going to be fine, but he will be kept overnight in the hospital for observation. This is the third time he’s fallen while at home during the past year, and now you’re worried that it’s going to happen again. You want your dad to be able to continue living on his own for as long as possible, but something needs to change. One of the best ways to ensure that his home is a safer place is by eliminating trip and fall hazards.
Millions of Seniors Fall Every Year
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four Americans aged 65-and-over fall every year, but many don’t tell their doctor or family what happened. Here are some other senior-related fall statistics from the CDC:
- 20% of all falls result in serious injuries like head trauma or broken bones
- Over 800,000 seniors are hospitalized annually due to fall-related injuries
- Over 95% of hip fractures in elderly patients come from falling
- Every 19 seconds, an elderly person dies from fall-related injuries
- After a senior falls the first time, their risk of falling again doubles
- Every year, 3 million elderly adults are treated in hospital ERs because of falls
Many seniors have-to spend time recuperating in a hospital or nursing home after falling, and some never fully recover. When it comes to your dad’s freedom and independence, all of these troubling facts are reason for concern.
Making Dad’s Home a Safer Place
Does your dad have any health conditions that increase his risk for falling, like vision problems, muscle weakness, medications he’s taking, foot pain or poor balance? If so, keep those in mind while using this room-by-room approach to identify potential trip hazards:
The bathroom is a very dangerous place for seniors. Here are some ways to make it safer:
- Install grab bars on the wall near the toilet and in the bathing area.
- Remove all throw rugs.
- Put anti-skid pads on the bottom of the tub or shower.
- Get him a shower seat.
- Add a “booster seat” to the toilet so it’s easier to get up and down.
A lot of seniors also fall in the kitchen, so make your dad’s is safer by:
- Moving the table and chairs to one side of the room
- Placing mats or rugs with non-skid backings near the sink and stove
- Making sure all cooking and eating items are within arm’s reach
Safe proof the home’s other rooms by:
- Removing any electrical cords that could trip dad
- Making sure the room is well lit
- Repairing or throwing out chairs that are wobbly
- Moving small furniture items out of walkways
- Eliminating throw rugs that “bunch up” when walked on
- Reducing clutter throughout the home
Steps and Stairs
Next, address the stairways in dad’s home by:
- Improving the lighting above them
- Adding handrails along both sides
- Placing fluorescent tape strips on the front of each step
Other Home Safety Tips
And finally, here are some other ways to help prevent dad from tripping and falling:
- If he has a pet, make sure it doesn’t lay in walkways.
- Get his vision checked. Sometimes a new set of prescription lenses makes a world of difference for a senior!
- Have his balance tested by a healthcare professional, as it may be time for dad to use a cane or walker.
- Ask your dad to stay off stepstools and ladders.
- Buy him shoes with non-skid soles.
Our In-Home Caregivers Strive to Keep Seniors Safer
Helping a senior loved one avoid falls in their home can be difficult, so when you need a hand contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our carefully screened caregivers will serve as an extended family in your loved one’s home so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to keeping seniors safer through fall prevention, our well-trained aides can perform other in-home duties like light housekeeping, meals, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our family trusted services can be conveniently personalized into an affordable package that won’t break your budget! To learn more about First In Care today, or to schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, now, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.