One out of four older adults will fall this year, and some falls result in serious injury. According to the CDC, the number one cause of injuries in adults over 65 is falling.
These accidents may result in hip fractures, cuts, and even severe head and brain injuries that can be fatal. While many times there is no serious injury, repeated falls can prevent someone from participating in certain activities out of fear they’ll fall again.
Whether it's slippery floors, rickety stairs, or electrical cords, some of the most common causes of falls occur at home, where you might feel safe. That’s why fall prevention starts with creating a safe and neat living space.
It doesn’t have to involve a complete house remodel. You can make your home safe from falls with just a few basic changes. Elder care experts offer the following advice for preventing falls at home.
Clean Up Clutter
The easiest way to prevent falls is to keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter, such as old newspapers and magazine stacks, especially from hallways and staircases.
Repair or Remove Tripping Hazards
Examine each room and hallway, and look for items such as loose carpets, throw rugs, or floorboards that may cause a fall.. Repair, remove, or replace those items for more effective fall prevention.
Install Grab Bars and Handrails
If mobility is limited, these safety devices can be crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bathtub or shower safely. Have a handyman or family member help with this if necessary.
Light It Right
Inadequate lighting is another major hazard. To create a home that’s easier to navigate, install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways.
Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk. Preventing falls at home can be as simple as wearing shoes. You can also purchase non-slip socks with rubber grips on the soles of the feet.
Live On One Level
Even with precautions like handrails, stairs present a significant falling hazard. If it’s not possible to live on one level, try to limit the trips you take up and down the stairs.
Move More Carefully
Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Preventing falls can be as easy as taking your time.
Join A Preventive Exercise Program
Many community centers, gyms, senior centers, and healthcare businesses offer exercise programs for older adults aimed at preventing falls. These exercise regimens focus on improving balance and strengthening muscles. A physical therapist can also recommend exercise programs and assistive devices, if necessary, to keep you safe.
Need help identifying ways to prevent falls in your area? Interested in elder care consulting for in-home or other senior living care options for your loved one? Reach out to Senior Care Authority today.