June 12, 2018 Jeff Conner of Pacific Mobility
It bears repeating that fall prevention for seniors significantly improves quality of everyday life, so let’s take another look at reducing fall risks for seniors. Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes and mobility aids can decrease the risk of a nasty fall and increase autonomy, consequentially.
Falls among the elderly are on the rise, and it is estimated that each year one out of four older people falls; it is further asserted that once you have fallen, your chances of falling again double. Talk to your doctor or provider about how to reduce the risk of a fall – and the potentially-debilitating consequences – while maintaining independence and autonomy. Many times, simple assistive aids and mobility devices can reduce the risk of a fall, which contributes to making the home a much safer place to live.
Let’s take another look at reducing fall risks for seniors:
Whether you are over the age of 65 or not, reducing the risk of a fall and subsequent injury improves overall everyday life. From avoiding an injury and avoiding a hospital-stay to preserving independence and maintaining autonomy, these tips can contribute to your well-being.
Some tips to reduce risks around the home include:
- Make things easier to reach. Reaching is an easy way to take a tumble, and it may warrant a reaching tool to reduce risks. If you are looking for a bit of added support, consider something like a super-pole to provide stationary support in a favorite living space or bedroom.
- Give bathrooms something to grab. Install grab bars near toilet, sink, and shower to make your bathroom a safer place. Don’t try to install these on your own; ask professionals to ensure they are secure and stabilized in wall-studs to prevent serious injury and potential property damage.
- Make sure phones are cordless. Invest in cordless phones for your home, or the home of a senior. This prevents the possibility of a fall when hurrying to answer the phone in the home.
- Create safer surfaces. Implement non-slip mats or plastic runners through the home to make surfaces stable and provide tread. These also are easy to clean and maintain.
- Wear your shoes. Make sure that you always wear shoes in the home; look for slip-resistant, rubber soles when buying shoes or slippers. Also, never wear socks or nylons on your floors as these can be slippery. Treat yourself to a great pair of house-slippers, with a slip-resistant sole.
- Eliminate clutter. Get rid of clutter that could cause you to trip or fall. Also, remove items that prevent access to walls or door-frames, in case you need the support. Living with a bit less can be liberating, while also making your home seem roomier and more accessible.
- Get the right stool. If you must have access to tall or high areas of the home, buy yourself a sturdy step-stool with handrails. Use according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Make stairs safer. Create safer stairs and steps with lighting and handrails on both sides for support. Use sticky treads on bare risers to further reduce fall risk.
- Fight the ice. Remember to keep exteriors de-iced during inclement weather. Use cat-litter or sand for added tread and traction on ice or slick surfaces.
- Become stronger. Any senior can reduce their potential for a fall by becoming more agile; build strength, balance, and flexibility with simple movements, activities, and exercise daily.
- Keep up on repairs. If you want to reduce hazards around the house, keep your home maintained. Make prompt and timely repairs as needed for the safest dwelling possible.
- Light things up. It also makes sense to invest in lighting solutions, as poor lighting is a major cause of falls in the home. This includes stairwells, task lamps, footlights, and outdoor light fixtures.
- Live on a single-level. Consider whether now is the time to adapt to one-level living. If a senior is residing in a home with two or three stories, it could significantly reduce fall-risk to reconfigure the living situation into something that curbs the use of stairs. If this is not feasible, consider investing in a stair-lift to maintain access and decrease hazards.
- Use your aids. Got a cane, walker, or other assistive-device? Use it! Too many people leave their aids behind when moving about the house, even though a hefty percentage of these incidents occur in the home.
June is National Safety Month; will you do something to reduce the risk of a fall in your home? The focus of this commemorative time is to prevent the common causes of injuries and fatalities widely – including those that occur by falling in the familiar spaces and rooms of your own home.
If you or a loved one would benefit from some support or assistance to reduce the risk of a nasty fall, reach out for a needs assessment to determine if mobility aids are the answer. Talk to the experts for consultation, information, and installation, when you are ready to reduce the risk of a fall in your home.