One of the biggest fears for elderly Americans is tripping and falling, and for good reason. In an average year falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65+. Accidental trips and falls account for numerous hip fractures, head injuries and broken bones. Sometimes those elderly victims lose their independence permanently as a result. If you have an aging in place loved one in your life, making sure to prevent senior falls should be a priority. Here are 6 ways to help your elder avoid trip and fall hazards when you’re not around.
Why Seniors Are More Fall Prone
Every year in the US roughly 800,000 seniors are hospitalized after falling and more than 27,000 die because of fall-related complications. That’s because the average adult over the age of 60 is more fall prone for one or more of these reasons:
- Poor balance, coordination and flexibility
- Muscle weakness
- Certain chronic illnesses and medical conditions
- Medications that cause dizziness, slowed motor responses and low blood pressure
- Cognitive impairment (dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.)
- Poor visual acuity
- Not exercising enough
A fear of falling can also keep an aging in place senior from staying active and socially engaged. This can seriously affect their health and wellbeing.
Fall Prevention Tips for Informal Caregivers
Fortunately, you can prevent most senior falls. As an informal caregiver here are 6 ways to create a safer environment in your loved one’s home:
One of the easiest ways to eliminate potential trip hazards is by walking around your loved one’s home and removing furniture items, boxes, electrical cords, throw rugs, and even dog beds from the walkways. In addition to clearing the walkways, be sure that there’s adequate lighting throughout the home. In particular, be sure to check that there is sufficient lighting in hallways and above stairs.
Safe proof the bathroom
With its sharp corners, confined spaces and slippery surfaces, the bathroom can be a dangerous place for a senior. Trip hazards like raised floor vents, thick bath mats and high tub edges can cause serious trip-and-fall injuries.
To help keep your senior safe, remove slippery bath mats and area rugs from the room, replace the vent cover, and install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. And a walk-in shower is always safer than a step-in tub.
Schedule an eye exam
Poor vision is another common reason why seniors trip and fall, so schedule your loved one an eye appointment. Sometimes all it takes is a new pair of glasses to help an elder avoid trip hazards both inside and outside the home. Since bifocal and trifocal lenses can be a little tricky when walking on stairs, be sure that your loved one is trained properly on how to use theirs.
Make sure that any steps and stairways around the home are well lit and that there are handrails on both sides. It’s also a good idea to place reflective tape on the front of the top and bottom steps, and to check that all steps are nailed securely in place.
Get their balance tested
Since poor balance, flexibility and coordination are risk factors for falls, schedule a balance test with your loved one’s doctor or a physical therapist. Based on the test results it may be time to get your senior an assistive device like a walker or cane.
Encourage regular exercise
If your loved one is otherwise healthy enough, encourage them to participate in low-impact forms of exercise 3 to 5 times a week. Regular exercise builds muscle strength, improves balance and coordination, and enhances flexibility. All of this can help prevent trips and falls.
An Additional Layer of Protection in Your Senior’s Home
Helping an aging in place loved one avoid trips and falls can be hard when you have your own household to manage or live far away. When you need a hand contact First In Care. As a fully licensed home care agency our team of highly trained caregivers can serve as an additional layer of protection in the home so that your senior will enjoy a higher quality of life while remaining active and socially engaged.
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.