Falls are one of the most preventable causes of injury for senior adults, yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 2 million people over the age of 65 are treated for a fall-related injury each year. While younger adults will usually recover quickly from a fall, seniors are at risk for serious injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries, that can have long-term consequences. Families and other caregivers can reduce the potential for falling by implementing the following strategies at home.
Be Alert Following a Recent Hospitalization
Seniors are at their greatest risk for falling after a recent illness or surgery due to a variety of factors, including new medications, reduced mobility, and fatigue. Caregivers should understand the potential side effects associated with each new medication and be especially wary of any that may cause dizziness. It is also important to make sure that a senior is able to use any new mobility devices, such as a walker, before they are encouraged to complete their daily routine independently.
Create Defined Walking Paths
As a senior advances in age, their changing health may require modifications to their home. For example, those who experience vision changes may need more lighting throughout their hallways that can be used during nighttime bathroom visits. Rugs should be tacked down to the subfloor or removed completely to prevent a senior from slipping on them. Ramps may need to be installed to replace stairs that could pose a hazard for those with joint stiffness caused by arthritis. At all times, these walking paths should be kept clear of clutter. Pet's toys and other small objects can easily cause a senior adult to trip and fall.
Provide Help With Basic Needs
The majority of falls occurs when a senior attempts to take care of a need in the kitchen or bathroom. This is because these areas of the home tend to have the most slippery surfaces. Providing a senior with home-care assistance for daily tasks, such as bathing, meal preparation, and getting dressed, can significantly reduce the chances of them falling.
Fall prevention is as simple as identifying potential risks and creating a plan that will eliminate hazards. Today, families have many options available for safeguarding their loved ones' health. From handrails in the bathroom to home-care assistance designed specifically for older adults, a person can reduce their loved one's risk for serious injury while improving their ability to live independently.