Did you know that more than one out of every four people aged 65 and older fall each year, but less than half of these actually tell their doctor? Falls a serious concern among our elderly, and falling one time more than doubles a person’s chances of falling again, which is why it’s so important to practice fall prevention. Whether you’re prepping your family’s home for the holidays to accommodate for grandparents or you’re trying to help your elderly loved one safety-proof their home, it’s important to know what steps you can take to prevent them from falling and sustaining an injury.
Understanding the Importance of Fall Prevention
The CDC reports that 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments each year for injuries related to falling, with the most common injuries being broken bones, head injury, or hip fracture. Even though only one in five falls results in a serious injury, that is still a significantly high number. Not to mention the fact that one fall is likely to be followed by the next. In addition, many seniors develop a fear of falling after falling once. In some cases, this fear can be so strong that it stops seniors from moving around and living their lives to the fullest. When seniors become less active while being afraid of falling, they only become weaker and increase their chances of falling once again.
In the end, there is no reason to live in fear of falling when there are so many home safety options available – and there’s no reason not to safety-proof your home against falls! By practicing fall prevention, you can ensure that your elderly loved ones are aging safely and happily.
Home Safety Tips for Fall Prevention
There are many practical steps you can take to safety-proof your home or your elderly loved one’s home. Here are 7 tips that can help you prevent falls.
1. Safety-Proof Your Home
The first step is the most obvious: to remove or fix anything in your home that could cause a fall. If you have electrical cords on the floor, make sure they are taped down or removed from walking areas. Remove coffee tables, decor, and other items from walkways or high-traffic areas. If you have any loose carpeting or floorboards, you’ll also want to make sure those get fixed. Lastly, try to store all necessities within reach. For example, avoid putting dishes, cleaning supplies, food, and medications on top or bottom shelves.
2. Add Safety Devices
We all need a little extra help sometimes and that’s exactly what safety devices are for. There are a ton of fall prevention devices you can purchase and install in your home, including:
- Handrails to place by the bed, kitchen, and stairs
- Non-slip treads to place put on wooden or tile steps
- Hand-held nozzle for the shower
- Sturdy plastic seat for sitting in the shower
- Non-slip bath mats for the shower or bathtub
- Grab bars to be placed in and by the shower and tub
- Raised toilet seats with armrests
Having these safety items installed can make day-to-day activities far easier and safer for your elderly loved one.
3. Make Sure To Buy The Right Shoes
Shoes are extremely important in preventing falls and encouraging healthy bones and joints. Even though slippers and flip flops are convenient, they can make people more prone to falling. Instead, opt for comfortable and supportive shoes that have non-slip grips on the sole. Make sure to have your loved one’s foot size measured, as well, because having the wrong size shoe can contribute to more slips and falls.
4. Good Lighting is Key
The better people can see, the easier they can move around and stay balanced. Many people prefer having an option for dim lighting, however, if you’re trying to make your home safer, you need to opt for bright lighting throughout the home. You may even place extra lamps near the side of the bed or in the living room. In addition, consider placing night lights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways to make it easier to see when getting up in the middle of the night. Lastly, you may consider switching to glow-in-the-dark light switches instead of the traditional switch so it is easier to see and locate in the dark.
5. Encourage Regular Exercise
Many seniors stay away from exercise because they won’t want to cause their bodies pain or harm. Of course, this is important, but low-impact exercise can actually help prevent falls. Low-impact exercises, like walking, swimming, or even Tai Chi can help promote better balance, stronger bones, and more flexible joints. Improving balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination can all help prevent falls.
6. Stay On Top of Eye Exams
Seniors should have their eyes checked at least once a year, if not more if needed. Their glasses should be updated, if necessary, to help them see clearly. Blurry vision and other eye problems can make it difficult to balance and stay coordinated, so taking care of eyesight is an important step in fall prevention.
7. Periodically Review Medications With a Doctor
Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness – two symptoms that often contribute to falls among the elderly. As a result, it’s important to report any of these symptoms to a doctor immediately. You should also have a doctor or pharmacist review the medications being taken on a regular basis so you are aware of any possible side effects or drug interactions.
Find Everything You Need for Fall Prevention at Kelmedix
Looking for the right bath mat to fit your tub? Or, are you looking for custom-sized handrails or raised toilet seats to better support your elderly loved one? Whatever your home safety and fall prevention needs may be, Kelmedix has you covered. With a wide range of medical supplies and home safety devices, our products can help you safety-proof you or your loved one’s home against falls. Shop now for all of your fall prevention and home safety needs.