As people get older, they may experience physical changes and health conditions that increase their chances of falls. The fear of slips and falls often restricts their level of movement and activities to a great extent.
Elderly fall prevention is an important issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of three older adults fall each year, but fewer than half of them discuss this with their doctor. The key is to take steps that reduce their risk of falling in and around the home.
Slippery floors, shaky stairs or electrical cords are some of the most common causes of falls that occur in the home. An unsafe home environment can result in serious injury or even death. Making small modifications can improve safety and enhance the independence of older adults. Here are some simple measures that can go a long way in protecting your loved ones from falls in the home:
- Remove tripping hazards – Home fixtures can lead to falls resulting in severe injuries. Removing items such as loose carpet, loose wooden floor boards or slippery throw rugs helps prevent slips and falls.
- Clean up clutter – Keep the home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter such as boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways and staircases.
- Light up your living space – Keeping your home brightly lit can help prevent tripping on objects that are hard to see. Install brighter light bulbs in bedrooms, narrow hallways and staircases.
- Install grab bars and handrails – Install grab bars in toilets and bathtubs and handrails in stairways and hallways.
- Use non-slip mats – Floors in kitchens, porches and bathrooms can be dangerous when wet. Use a nonskid bath mat in the shower or tub to reduce falls.
Older adults would benefit by enrolling in a slip/fall prevention program at a multi-specialty healthcare centers. Such programs aim at identifying and modify the physical and environmental factors that cause falls in the elderly.