One out of four seniors falls each year. What's more, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people over the age of 65. Seniors are more likely to break bones in falls, courtesy of increased bone porosity.
Even when there's no serious injury, a fall can cause seniors to become fearful or depressed, to the point where they find it hard to stay active. And that's not sustainable for a healthy lifestyle.
From slippery floors and rickety stairs to electrical cords, some of the most common causes of falls can be found at home- where seniors usually feel most secure. But the good news is- falls are avoidable. In fact, fall prevention is a central goal of in-home senior care services.
Creating a Safe Environment: Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors at Home
If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, helping them reduce the risk of falls can ensure they stay healthy and independent for a long time. Here's a quick guide on how to prevent falls at home.
1. Identifying and Addressing Potential Hazards
Take a good look around the home and backyard. Do you notice any objects that your seniors have almost tripped on? Unstable pieces of furniture? Piles of clutter that block the entryway? Small rugs?
These are tripping hazards and need to go!
If your older loved one has chosen to spend their golden years at home instead of in an assisted facility, it's essential to make their living space as safe as possible. There are plenty of easy ways to do this, such as:
- Removing boxes, newspapers, and cords from walkways.
- Moving coffee tables, racks, and stands from high-traffic areas.
- Using non-slip mats in the bathroom or shower.
- Securing loose rugs with tape or slip-resistant backing.
- Repairing loose floorboards and carpets as quickly as possible.
- Cleaning up spilled liquids or foods immediately.
- Storing daily necessities within easy reach.
Additionally, be sure to increase lighting throughout your home, especially at the top and bottom of the stairs. Doing this will boost visibility and help seniors get around with ease.
2. Maintain Physical Health and Mobility
It's said the more you move, the less you fall- and we couldn't agree more.
Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention at home. Regular exercise focusing on flexibility, strength training, and balance can help keep your older loved one's muscles strong. With stronger joints, tendons, and ligaments, they're more likely to catch themselves when they stumble.
Exercise also strengthens the bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Ask your healthcare provider if it's safe for your senior to partake in gentle exercises like walking, swimming, and tai chi. These activities can serve as fall precautions at home by improving balance, coordination, and mobility.
That's not all.
Several medications include side effects such as dizziness, confusion, fatigue, weakness, or an urgency to use the bathroom. When your senior take multiple medicines, it can ramp up these problems.
To help with fall prevention at home, consult a doctor to wean your older loved one off any drugs that make them tired or affect their thinking.
We also recommend seniors get their vision and hearing checked once a year. Certain eye or ear disorders can increase their risk of falls, meaning it's crucial to address these issues right out of the gate.
3. Assistive Devices and Safety Equipment
Assistive devices are designed to make daily activities easier and safer for seniors. They come in multiple shapes and sizes- all geared toward protecting the joints and preventing injuries.
It can be hard for older adults to admit they need an assistive device. However, investing in them early on can reduce their chances of falling and breaking something.
Get your senior a walker or cane as soon as you see them struggling to keep their balance. Other assistive devices can help as well, such as:
- Handrails for both sides of the stairways
- A sturdy plastic sheet in the shower or tub
- A hand-held shower nozzle to help them shower while sitting down
- A raised toilet seat with one or more armrests
- Grab bars for the shower/tub
Again, this is only the tip of the iceberg. In case you need further ideas, get in touch with an occupational therapist to brainstorm other fall precautions at home.
A word of advice here. You might want to invest in smart technology like voice assistants to help seniors who have trouble with switches or buttons. Moreover, medical alert systems and sensors that automatically detect trips and falls can dial for emergency services if your senior stumbles and cannot reach a phone.
4. Personalized Care and Planning
Even with all these tips for fall prevention at home, some seniors may need a constant pair of watchful eyes on them. This is especially true for older adults with cognitive problems.
But caring for an older adult is easier said than done. Not only is it incredibly demanding, but also stressful. According to a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield, caregivers are more likely to develop stress-related conditions, such as hypertension and adjustment disorder.
On the other hand, moving into an assisted or residential care facility requires making big lifestyle changes. So, what do you do?
Hire home caregiver services, of course!
A few benefits of senior home care services include:
- One-on-one attention
- Peace of mind
- Family involvement
- Pet ownership
- Faster recovery
In-home senior care services are customized to fit your family's needs. No matter how much or how little assistance your loved one needs, home care is flexible and can adapt to what's best for each client.
That said, senior home care is not a one-and-done affair. You and the senior caregiver must adjust the caregiving plan as your older loved one age further.
The Bottom Line
Sure, the risk of falls increases as we age. But this doesn't mean we can't do something to stop it. You can use the fall precautions at home mentioned in this post to protect your aging loved one. Pair these tips with reputable in-home senior care services, and you're good to go.
There's nothing quite like growing old at home. Help your aging parents preserve their independence with Seniors Helping Seniors. We provide comprehensive home health care for seniors in Reno, so they can enjoy life in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. Get in touch with us today for more information.