According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three seniors fall each year, resulting in the #1 cause of injuries to seniors. Most senior living communities are equipped with safety precautions to reduce the risk of falling. For seniors living at home, it is important to take similar precautions to make sure their home is safe. Help your patients reduce their risk of falling by educating them on a few simple and affordable modifications for the home.
1. Reduce Clutter:
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of falls is to remove clutter from the home. Stacks of newspapers, laundry on the floor, magazines, etc. are all potential hazards. Especially on stairs.
2. Install Grab Bars and Handrails:
These safety devices are critical, especially for the elderly. Installing these on stairways and in bathrooms will provide added support to help reduce the risk of falling.
3. Improve Lighting:
Install brighter light bulbs where needed, especially in stairways and hallways. Put lights on a timer to turn on at dusk. Nightlights or motion-sensor lights are also recommended for improved nighttime safety. Have backup-battery-powered lighting on hand in case of a power outage.
4. Examine Your Floors:
Examine the home for uneven floors, loose carpet, slippery rugs, extension cords or floorboards that stick up. These should be replaced or repaired. Add non-skid strips to steps and slippery areas like the floor of the bathtub or shower.
5. Pay Attention to Furniture:
Think about ways to position furniture strategically to provide support when walking through the home.
6. Wear Shoes or Slippers:
While socks are comfortable, they don’t provide the added grip that shoes or slippers do. It is recommended to have a set of “house shoes” that are comfortable and properly fitted with non-skid soles to be worn inside of the house only.
7. Take Precautions:
Always wear a medical alert button. Lightweight, waterproof buttons are easy to wear and enable a person to call for help in any kind of emergency, no matter where they are in and around their home.
Talk to your patients about improving their home to reduce the risk of falls. Equipping a home with safety measures now can prevent painful injuries from happening in the future.