Reducing the Risk of Falls at Home
Did you know that every year in America, 1 in 3 Americans over the age of 65 falls at home? When an elderly person falls the results can be fatal or nonfatal, but the nonfatal falls can result in serious fractures to the hip, head injuries, and broken bones. Even falls that don’t result in any kind of injury can have lasting psychological damage on an older individual. They often become depressed and scared to continue living alone.
For a lot of elderly individuals or younger loved ones of elderly individuals, the thought of fall risks rarely cross their minds until it happens to them. One of the most important ways to protect your loved one from falling is to reduce the risk of falls in the home. Below are helpful tips on how to make your home safer and do just that.
Discuss The Risk of a Slip, Trip and Falls at Home
The first step to take in reducing the risk of falls at home is to discuss the risk of falling with your older loved one and their doctor. Familiarize yourself with the medications your loved one is taking, how those medications could possibly affect their balance, and if your loved one is nervous about falling themselves. If they admit to being nervous of the possibility of taking a tumble then delve into further preventative steps to take.
Tape Down Area Rugs and Declutter Main Thoroughfares
Area rugs may seem innocent enough, but they pose a lot of danger to aging people. Tape down the edges of the area rugs to the floor that they lay over so the rugs do not pull up or wrinkle. While taping down area rugs, go on and declutter the main thoroughfares that your loved one walks through. By ensuring flat and clear passageways through the house, you reduce the risk of falls at home substantially.
Light Hallways and Stairs
Night lights have many more functions than simply keeping the boogieman away from young children’s nightmares and one of those functions is adding extra lighting to hallways and rooms at nights to make it easier for elderly people to move around at night. Additionally, ensure the stairs are well lit if your loved one is in a two story home or a house with a basement to make stairs easier to navigate in the early morning and evening.
Ensure Bathrooms and Kitchens are Nonslip Safe
Bathrooms and kitchens both pose great threats to elderly people who are at a high risk of falling at home. Both are usually floored with linoleum or tile which become very slippery when wet – whether the water is coming from the shower, bath, or sink. Nonslip mats ensure that your elderly relative is safe in two heavily used areas of the home. Install mats inside and outside of the bathtub or shower, as well as in front of the sink and refrigerator where leaks or spills may occur.
Use Other Devices to Assist with Mobility
Non-slip mats and lighting devices are a great place to start when making a home safer, but there are other devices on the market that will further assist with ensuring safe mobility around the home. Consider purchasing a raised toilet seat or installing handlebars in the shower, so your loved one can safely navigate around the bathroom. Install handlebars or hand rails on one or both sides of the stairways to give more stability to elderly people when walking up and down the stairs as well as something to grab on to should they fall on the stairs.
As odd as it sounds, one of the most important things to do in order to prevent falls at home is to keep moving. Make sure your elderly loved one is staying active. The less sedentary they are, the less likely they are to get dizzy when rising after sitting and the more likely they are to be able to keep their balance while walking. A few ways to keep your loved one moving at an older age include: walking, tai-chi, and water sports that will keep their bones and muscles healthy.
Following these steps will help to make your home or your loved ones’ home as safe as possible and reduce the risk of falls throughout the house. If you feel that you’re unable to complete these tasks and safely equip the home, All Best Home Care can help with in-home care of your loved one. Get a free quote on our website or call us at (502) 456-CARE (2273) to get your FREE care quote today.