When it comes to falls, the odds are stacked against our aging loved ones.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four seniors will fall this year – it’s the number one cause of injuries among people age 65 and older,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “Of course, falls often result in injuries, like broken hips, but they can also cause a senior to become fearful or depressed – making it difficult for them to maintain their independence.”
Examine every room and hallway – look for things like loose carpet or wood floorboards that stick up and then repair or remove potential hazards.
Keep the home neat, tidy and free of clutter, such as stacks of newspapers and magazines.
Remove throw rugs – they can be a tripping hazard.
Install handrails on each side of every stairway and grab bars by toilets and in tubs/showers.
Secure mats in the tub/shower and other slippery surfaces.
Make sure bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways and stairways are well-lit – install brighter light bulbs where needed and add nightlights to help with guidance after dark.
Review medications to make sure they won’t cause balance issues or dizziness.
If possible, move things around so your loved one can live on one level. If that’s not an option, encourage your senior to limit trips up and down the stairs.
Make sure shoes and socks are non-slip.
Encourage your loved one to stay active. Exercises like Tai Chi will make your senior’s legs stronger and improve balance.
“Eventually, your senior may need a cane or walker to help steady themselves or maybe event a little extra help at home,” Goetz said. “Our caregivers are always on the lookout for potential trip and fall hazards. They are also trained to assist seniors who may have mobility issues – reducing their risk of falls and helping them remain healthy and independent for as long as possible.”