The number one cause of injury in seniors is falling. Each year, one third of seniors in the United States falls. Almost half of these falls that occur will require hospitalization. Many of these falls result in hip fractures, serious brain injuries, and other fatal injuries. Falling can be traumatizing for a senior, even resulting in them avoiding activities due to fear of falling again.
Preventing falls means preventing injuries or even death. Fall prevention begins with creating a safe living space for the senior.
1. Get rid of clutter. Keeping you home organized and clean is an easy method for preventing falls. Clutter in staircases and hallways should especially be taken care of in this process. Be sure there is a clear path to walk around the home
2. Search for tripping hazards and fix them. Loose carpet, rugs or floorboards can often be a hazard in falling or tripping. Properly replace and repair these items to have better fall prevention.
3. Install grab bars and handrails. These additions are crucial for going up and down stairwells, stepping in or out of the shower, and getting on and off the toilet. If you are not familiar with how to install these additions, seek professional help.
4. Do not wear loose-fitting clothes. Baggy clothing can lead to falls. Choose clothes that fit better and have a proper hem that can prevent tripping. You do not want to wear clothing that drags on the fooor.
5. Proper lighting is essential. A major hazard in falling in homes is improper lighting. Installing brighter light bulbs in hallways and stairways is a great start. Night-lights can also be placed in bathrooms and bedrooms for help when walking at night time.
6. Wear slippers or shoes. Many people wear socks around their home. However, socks may be a risk for slipping despite the comfort that they bring. Non-slip socks and slippers can be purchased with grips on the soles if wearing shoes becomes too uncomfortable.
7. Take care of all areas that one can slip in when wet. These areas would include showers and bathtubs, and floors in the kitchen, bathroom or entrance. The best idea to prevent falls in these areas is to have non-slip mats in them. Also be sure to add mats under rugs that are on tile or hardwood floors.
8. If possible, live on one level. Stairs can be a major falling hazard. If this is not possible, walking up and down the stairs should be limited to as little as possible.
9. Move more slowly and carefully. A number of falls occur at home because the elderly move too quickly from sitting to standing or the reverse. It’s a good idea to always pause before changing positions or using a stairwell. Always take your time when getting around.