As people age, multiple factors put them at greater risk for falls. Some of the most common factors are being deconditioned, having weakened muscles and bones, having acute illnesses and taking multiple medications. Additionally, environmental factors like poor lighting and a lack of sturdy supports adds to the risk of falls with injuries. The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in three seniors over the age of 64 falls. If one falls and sustains an injury to a bone and bruises the skin, that fall could lead to an untimely death. Thousands of older people die from such falls every year - and half of those falls occur in the senior’s home.
Emergency rooms all across America constantly see seniors who have fallen and sustained an injury. The best remedy for this is to take measures to prevent the fall before it occurs.
Tips for Reducing Unnecessary Falls
Older persons can become unstable on their feet. There are many causes for this imbalance, but it is a serious risk to any senior. The following tips will help you ensure that your senior maintains his or her balance and stays upright:
- Enroll them in a healthy exercise program that will build their leg, arm and core strength. Programs like Tai Chi or EnhanceFitness are available in many neighborhoods.
- Keep cords, shoe strings, papers, plants, and other obstacles out of their walking path.
- Remove scatter rugs, repair loose or uneven flooring and assure carpet edges are secured to the floor,
- Add grab bars to the shower/tub and next to the toilet.
- Put a nonslip mat inside and outside the tub/shower.
- Add a seat to the shower/tub so that your senior doesn’t have to stand while bathing herself/himself.
- Have railings installed on both sides of the stairway and never store items on the stairs.
- Use nightlights to allow some visibility at night should your senior need to make a trip to the bathroom.
- Improve overall lighting by using stronger light bulbs.
- Visit the eye doctor at least once a year.
- Request a medicine review by your physician or pharmacist to determine if any prescriptions cause drowsiness or dizziness.
If you know someone who is approaching their senior years, have the home evaluated before it becomes a fall hazard and equip it with the necessary additions to make their home safe. The longer older people can stay in their homes when they reach their golden years the healthier and happier they will be.