Did you know that more than 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries resulting from falls? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that senior falls happen at an alarming rate, with most falls going unreported to family members or physicians. If your loved one is living alone at home, or living with a partner at home, falls can seriously derail their intention to remain independent. You can set your aging loved one up for safety by looking for lurking hidden fall risks in their home. Here’s where to start and what to do next.
Start with Stairs
Stairs, whether full staircases to a second floor or just a small step up from the garage, can be difficult for seniors to navigate. Stairs require a complex combination of balance, strength, and range of motion that can cause problems for even the most healthy older adult. Be sure stairs have a sturdy railing and are not overly slippery. Eliminating a carpet runner from stairs and adding new lights can also help your loved one be safer while traversing their stairs.
Dangers in the Bathroom
Most falls happen in the bathroom, and it is no surprise why. Wet and slippery surfaces, as well as confined spaces, a slip can quickly become a major danger. You can give your loved one a safer bathroom by installing grab bars near the toilet as well as in the shower. Keep shower surfaces non-slip by adding specialized stickers to the floor, and keep rugs from sliding by adding adhesive to the backs.
Remove Clutter Chaos
If your loved one uses a walker, wheelchair, or other supportive device, assure they can maneuver it throughout the home. Remove extra floor clutter such as unused china cabinets or stacks of magazines from the living room floor. These obstructions can not only impair safe movement but also cause more injury if your loved one falls on them. Keep your eyes peeled for cords on the floor as well, securing them to the wall so they are out of the way.
While you are looking for cluttered floors, you can also double check surface changes for safety. Rugs can be a pretty style accent but are also major fall risks. If your loved one has rugs, be sure they are secured to the floor. Further, make sure surface changes (carpet in the living room to laminate in the hall) are free from any tripping hazards.
Get Some Help
One of the best ways to keep your loved one safe is to offer assistance. Caregivers from CaringGivers can not only keep seniors safe during especially dangerous situations (like showers or baths) but can also work with seniors to increase their own range of motion and strength through encouraging prescribed exercises.
Falls can cause emergency room visits, hospital stays, and significant injuries. Give your loved one the best chance at safety by giving the team at CaringGivers a call. We would love to hear more about your situation and develop a plan for your loved one.