Although you may think nothing of hopping out of the shower, walking down your icy driveway, or bending over to tie your shoes, these simple tasks can be dangerous for older adults. Any of the above could cause a life-threatening fall. Keep reading to learn what you can do to prevent an older adult from falling to prevent injury.
Don’t Underestimate the Danger of Falling
First, it’s important to take falls seriously. And although those under the age of 55 tend to bounce back relatively well after losing their balance, the same isn’t necessarily true for seniors. Falls are actually the main cause of injuries and injury-related death in older adults. Head injuries resulting in traumatic brain damage, broken bones, internal bleeding, and even outright death can all result from a simple stumble.
Have a Plan for Making the Home ‘Fall-Safe’
One of the best precautionary methods you can take to help prevent an older adult from falling is to make the home a safe place.
- Start with the Bathroom: Most falls occur in the bathroom. It makes sense when you think about how slippery the floors are and the types of movements an older adult would have to make. Installing a grab bar next to the toilet will give an older adult something stable to hold onto as they get up. Also, consider putting a bench in the shower since standing for long periods of time can be difficult for some older adults.
- Aim for Easy Footing: Get rid of rugs that could curl and cause someone to trip, and consider putting non-skid mats in rooms where the floor can be slippery (i.e., bathroom, laundry room). Also, it can be too easy to trip on a forgotten toy or a shoe if you can’t see where you’re walking. Installing lighting throughout the home, especially near stairs and the bathroom, will help prevent an older adult from falling in the dark.
Many older adults have mobility issues due to a variety of reasons including chronic health conditions, a sedentary lifestyle, and even medication side effects. But there are a number of ways an older adult can improve their mobility to reduce their chances of falling.
- Attend an Exercise Program: Exercises including aquatics, yoga, or even simple exercises one can do at home can all be used to improve balance and coordination.
- Get a Check Up: By getting a checkup from a doctor, an older adult will be able to rule out whether medication side effects, vision loss, or hearing issues are affecting their balance. Improving balance could be as simple as getting a new prescription for glasses or eliminating medications with harmful side effects.
- Use a Walker: Some older adults have difficulty walking no matter how stable the ground, or how well-lit the path. Using a walker can be one of the best ways to prevent a more vulnerable adult from falling.
Overall, falling can be very dangerous for older adults, but there is a lot that you can do to prevent falls in the home. Just implement the tips mentioned above to stop an easily preventable tragedy from occurring.