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Preventing falls at home is not as easy as it might seem. Most homes usually have many areas that need addressing when it comes to fall prevention. Let’s start with the overall cleanliness of the home. A cluttered home is just asking for an accident. If you know of a senior living at home by themselves, make sure the pathways and walking areas are free from clutter. Shoes, clothing, books, magazines and other clutter should be removed from the floor and surrounding pathways. Make sure that if any area rugs or carpeting is being used that they are securely taped down to the floor. Wrinkles or folds in a carpet are one of the leading causes of falls in a home. Wipe up spills immediately. Don’t let liquids or pet accidents remain on the floor. This creates a slippery surface for someone to fall. Watch the pets and children. Some pets like to get right up underneath your feet when you get up. Make sure that they are out of the way before you begin to stand and while you are walking from one room to another. Slow down. There is no need to rush to get to the door or to the phone. Being in a hurry can cause you to lose your balance. Get out of your chair slowly. Standing up too fast can cause the blood to drain quickly from your brain and cause you to black out. Regular exercise builds strength and improves balance. Look for senior balance and mobility classes in your area. More and more classes and instructors are becoming available specifically for older adults. Have a medical alert system so that if you do happen to fall you can ensure that help arrives more quickly. Call us today at 1-800-595-0718 we would love to help you in any way that we can.
• The use of certain medications
• Slowing down of the reflexes
• Poor vision
• Difficulty balancing
• Slippery, wet floors
• Poor lighting
• Electrical cords in pathways
• Loose or wrinkled rugs
• Raised thresholds between rooms and doorways
• Clutter – a main contributor
Did you know? Most falls in the home will occur in bathrooms, bedrooms and on stairs.
Download MedFirst Alert’s free Home Safety Checklist to find out more about making your home safe.
Preventing falls in seniors requires paying attention to your surrounding environment and personal awareness. The following are just a few simple steps a senior can take to reduce the likelihood of falling.
1. Take care of yourself
• Have a chat with your doctor about your medications and their possible side effects.
• Did you know poor vision increases your chance of falling significantly?
−− See your eye doctor at least once a year.
−− Clean eyeglasses or contacts on a regular basis.
• Did you know exercising builds strength and improves your balance and coordination?
−− Ask your doctor before beginning any exercise program to see what is most appropriate for your situation
2. Keep pathways and hallways clear of clutter
• Keep walking areas clear of loose area rugs, extension cords, shoes, clothing, books, boxes, and clutter in general.
• Remove wrinkles and creases in area rugs and carpet.
• Keep a watchful eye out for water or other liquids on the floor and clean them up.
• Be watchful of pets and small children.
3. Slow it down around the house
• Stand up slowly, get your balance before standing up.
• Get out of furniture slowly. (chairs, sofa, etc.)
• Sit up in the bed first before stepping down.
• Take your time when answering the phone or door bell.
Senior Fall Prevention
Most people don’t realize that slips and falls are a growing concern for seniors over the age of 65. The following are some facts that will point out just how big the problem is:
What outcomes are linked to falls?
Twenty to thirty per cent of people who fall suffer from moderate to severe injuries like bruises, hip fractures, or head traumas. When one suffers from any of these, it will be very difficult for them to get around and independent living is also limited. What is even worse is that this may also increase the risk of early death.
Falls are also pointed out as the most common cause or traumatic brain injuries, otherwise known as TBI. By the year 2000, TBI accounted for forty six per cent of fatal falls among older adults.
According to Bell et al. 2000, most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common fractures are the spinal, forearm, hip, pelvis, leg, ankle, hand, and upper arm.
Many people who have experienced a fall and were not injured have developed the fear of falling. This fear leads to limited activities resulting in reduced mobility and physical wellness. And when an aging senior becomes immobilized and weak, this will also increase their actual risk of falling.
However, there are also ways for older adults to prevent falls:
Seniors may take several easy steps to have their body protected from the risk of falling. Follow any of the simple steps below:
Download our free home safety checklist and senior life saver kit for more tips.
Falls have become increasingly on the upswing for seniors over the age of 65 according to the latest statistics from the CDC. Many of these falls can be prevented just by changing a few things around the home and adjusting the lifestyle of our seniors.
Preventing falls and staying safe at home should be a top priority for seniors today who wish to remain at home during the golden years and forgo the assisted living route. Below are a few tips to reduce your chance of falling and staying safe at home.
1. Start exercising today.
Most experts will tell you that beginning an exercise program will improve your balance and coordination. From making your
bones stronger to elevating your mood, exercising has a host of beneficial and positive results. Try to find a seniors class offering
Tai Chi or other low impact exercise routine. One good place to start is your local YMCA. Local YMCA listings.
2. Safety-Proof your home.
Go through your home and remove all the things which may be potential tripping hazards (extension cords, mats, books,
magazines, clutter) from places where you walk. Take special care to remove anything around and on the stairs.
If you have rugs, make sure they have non slip pads underneath and that the edges are taped down(double sided tape) securely to prevent them from rising up.
Keep items in the kitchen accessible so that you do not need a stool to reach them.
Place support or grab bars next to the tub, shower and toilet.
Use non-slip mats in the bathtub.
Make sure the lighting in the home is sufficient in all rooms.
Make sure you wear shoes that give good support and have non-slip soles. Avoid wearing socks around the house. Especially if you will be going up and down stairs.
3. Have your vision checked yearly by an eye doctor.
Poor vision increases the chances you may have a fall
4. Have a medical alert system in the home and use it!
Medical alert systems will not prevent a serious fall from occuring but in the event you do have an accident in or around your home, you need to be able to call for help. Don’t count on being able to call or use a telephone. Many times the phone will either be out of reach or you just can’t physically dial the numbers. Your overall safety may depend on just how quickly help arrives at your doorstep. Don’t take any chances here.
By following these safety precautions and having a medical alert system at home you will increase the likelyhood of remaining safe and independent.
More than 1/3 of adults age 65 and older fall each year according to the CDC and did you know that they are also the most common hospital admission? Nearly 2 million people age 65 and older were treated at hospitals from falls. For some reason, the rate of fall related deaths among older adults rose significantly over the past decade and we don’t really know why.
I would venture to say that falls among seniors is a very serious and ongoing problem that needs more attention from us as a society.
One way to shorten the response time for medical personnel to reach the home of senior fall victims is of course to have a working medical alert system or Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) at home. Studies have shown that if help arrives quicker, seniors spend less time in the hospital and more time in their homes to recuperate and heal.
Falling at home is a really serious problem and once it happens some seniors develop a fear of falling which makes them more likely to fall in the future.
Remember, having a medical alert system gives you access to 24 hour help in the event of any kind of emergency not just a fall. These alert systems can also notify police in the event of a break in or call a family member.
There has been a great deal of awareness in recent years about how crucial it is for seniors and aging adults to safeguard against falls. CDC reports state that more than one third of people in the US over the age of 65 fall each year. For people in this age bracket, falls are the leading cause of deaths resulting from injuries and of nonfatal hospital visits resulting from injuries. Proper education and prevention can help reign in these numbers and prevent countless needless injuries and deaths each year.
Clean it Up
What can you do to prevent falls in the home of your loved ones? Start by learning the basics. Household clutter is one of the most common culprits when it comes to trips and falls. As people age they are less able to tackle many of the common cleaning problems they were once able to regularly tend to. Some options you might wish to consider include arranging with friends and family to come in and clean once a week or hire a cleaning service to come in once a week to handle deep cleaning and remove clutter and debris from the home.
Move it Out
If your parents are like many elderly people they have a home filled with memories. It’s great to hold on to important memories but it’s also a good time to start scaling back and removing items, particularly large of bulky furniture items, that might free up floor space in order to create more clear paths for walking. Eliminate things that aren’t necessary (or too sentimental to remove) from the home. The fewer things in the home, the fewer obstacles to maneuver around.
Light the Way
It may be time to change light fixtures, clean up old light coverings, invest in night lights, and switch to brighter bulbs. Light is important as people age and have more vision problems. More importantly, better lighting allows people to see obstacles that might be less easily recognized otherwise. It might not seem like that big of a difference but when combined with other changes, seeing things in a new light might be the difference in a life changing fall and preventing that fall.
Get Rid of the Soap
Old fashioned bars of soap can be deadly in the shower. Slips in the shower often go undiscovered for long periods of time and can be easily prevented. One way of doing this is by getting rid of soap bars. Instead of those old slippery bars of soap it is easy to install a dispenser for liquid soap to use in the shower. These dispensers can also be used for shampoo and conditioner in order to free up limited space in the shower and to reduce the amount of items that can fall and cause massive slippery obstacles to overcome during the course of a shower.
Simple little changes can net huge results when it comes to protecting the people you love. These changes do not necessarily require a huge investment of money but can greatly improve the quality and length of life for your loved ones.
Read more Senior Safety articles.
The CDC has found that 30% of seniors age 65+ who fall and break their hip will die within a year. This video shows an elderly lady who has fallen many times within her own home and what steps she has taken to prevent future falls. Great information for all seniors out there. I have also put together a safety checklist you may download HERE.
Please help MedFirst Alert create public awareness about senior fall prevention. You’ll find a wealth of information over at the CDC’s website.