Falls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the emergency room. They can happen at any time, and virtually any place, and for many seniors, they can lead to serious injuries, health complications, and long hospital stays. They can even lead to premature death.
This is why it is so important for seniors and caregivers alike to be aware of why falls happen and work to outfit their loved one’s homes so they can do their best to prevent falls from happening in the first place.
Why Falls Happen
Falls are extremely common among older adults. In fact, around one-third of seniors age 65 and older fall every year. The number is even higher once seniors reach the age of 70 and unfortunately, it only increases as they age.
Falls can be an indicator that something more serious is going on with your senior loved one and that something with their health may be awry. Frequent and serious falls may also be an indication that it is time for your loved one to consider moving to a nursing home, or assisted living community.
This may also be a sign that it is time to safety-proof your loved one’s home if you haven’t already.
Tips for Preventing Falls in the Home?
It is so important for seniors, and their family members to implement fall prevention strategies throughout the home. While they may seem relatively small and simple, these little changes can go a long way in helping any senior stay safe in their homes.
This Fall Prevention Infographic can be a valuable piece of information, as it details the best ways to make sure that every older adult stays safe inside the home. This is something that every senior and every caretaker needs to be aware of. Here are some easy things you can do to prevent falls in the home.
Switch Out the Lighting
Dark areas of the home that are difficult to see in can be a serious issue when it comes to fall risks. Many seniors already struggle with their vision and may not be able to see very well in dark hallways or rooms. Here’s what you can do:
- Add extra lighting
- Make sure on/off switches are easily accessible
- Add motion lights in the path to the bathroom
- Add nightlights, timed lights, and remote-controlled lights throughout the home as needed.
Look to the Floor
Many falls happen in the home simply because floors are slippery. A senior may not have the reflexes or physical ability to catch themselves if they lose their balance on a slippery floor, so consider doing these things to help prevent slips from happening:
- Secure loose rugs with sticky backing (or remove them)
- Install non-skid strips in slippery areas
- Make sure seniors are always wearing shoes or slippers with tread on them or grip-socks when in the home.
Clutter is another thing that can be a major fall hazard for seniors. Make sure there is a clean and clear path in the home that is wide enough for any senior (and their walking aid) to make it through so that falls don’t happen. Here are a few other things you can do.
- Arrange furniture in a way that is easy to navigate
- Remove small decorative pieces that seniors may not see while they are walking
- Put any unnecessary items in storage that may be a distraction.
Accessibility is key when it comes to keeping any senior’s home safe. Many seniors fall because they are looking for or reaching for something they want. Here’s how to make their home more accessible:
- Move everyday items off of high shelves and into a more accessible location
- Change furniture layouts
- Put senior’s essential belongings in one convenient area
- Leave snacks and water glasses out and accessible for seniors so they don’t have to dig through cupboards.
A Note on Bathrooms and Fall Hazards
One of the most important areas to focus on when it comes to fall prevention in the bathroom. The bathroom is the most commonplace in the home for seniors to fall, so you need to pay extra attention to this room. Here’s how we recommend making bathrooms safer:
- Add grab bars at the shower and toilet
- Put down non-slip mats and rugs in and outside the tub
- Install zero-entry tubs and showers
- Consider shower seats
The best thing you can do as a caretaker or loved one is to make sure your senior’s home, assisted living apartment or nursing home room is fall-safe. Making these changes now before falls happen is always a smart idea and can be the key to preventing serious issues from taking place.