According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three seniors will fall and injure themselves this year, but fewer than half will talk with their doctors about it. Falls are also the number one cause of injuries in seniors, resulting in hip fractures, cuts and even serious head and brain injuries. Even when there isn’t a serious injury, a fall can still be frightening enough that seniors might avoid certain activities and responsibilities out of fear they’ll fall again.
Whether it is due to slippery floors, wobbly stairs, or electrical cords in a walking area, many of the most common causes of falls are in the home, since it provides a false sense of security. The first step toward fall prevention begins with some simple upgrades.
Here are 8 tips that The Legacy at Home recommends for seniors who want to safely age in place at home:
- Repair or remove tripping hazards. Sometimes fixtures and flooring can contribute to falls which can then lead to injuries or chronic pain. We recommend taking a good look at every room and hallway for defects such as loose carpeting, throw rugs that slip or slide, or wood floorboards that might be sticking up. It’s important to repair, remove, or replace those items as soon as possible to reduce the chances of a fall.
- Put in grab bars and handrails. Safety devices like these are crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the bathtub without injury. The Legacy at Home suggests installing grab bars next to toilets and bathtubs and handrails in stairways and hallways. A handyman or family member can easily install these features.
- Avoid wearing loose and/or baggy clothing around the home. We all want to feel comfortable at home, but loose clothing can increase the chances of a fall. We recommend choosing better-fitting and properly hemmed clothes that don’t bunch up or drag under your feet.
- Keep the walking spaces free of clutter. This is the easiest step for preventing falls and helps keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter, such as clothing or other items, especially from hallways and staircases.
- Upgrade the lighting. Inadequate lighting is a major hazard for many older adults. We recommend installing brighter light bulbs where needed, especially near stairways and narrow hallways. We also recommend buying nightlights for bedrooms and bathrooms so they’re easier to get to and from at night.
- Get house shoes. Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk. You can also purchase non-slip socks that have rubber grips on the soles of the feet if shoes are too confining or uncomfortable.
- Remove slippery surfaces. Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches can become a serious slipping hazard when wet. We recommend using non-slip mats to prevent falls on slick surfaces.
- Move around your home carefully. Many people fall at home because they are quickly shifting from a sitting to a standing position or vice versa. Preventing falls such as these is as easy as taking your time and making sure you have good footing at all times.
How The Legacy at Home Can Help
For older adults, fall prevention means injury prevention, and that can mean a longer and healthier life. Beyond helping older adults with activities of daily living, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, toileting, and grooming, our personal care assistants can also evaluate the home for any fall risks, and they can address these needs by helping to clean, install safety equipment, and more.
In addition, The Legacy at Home’s personal assistants deliver care and companionship when you can’t be there, or when you simply need a hand. If your loved one does require medical care services, The Legacy at Home can accommodate their needs as well. You can call (972) 244-7700 or visit our personal care page for more information about our in-home personal care services.
If you’d like to learn more about any other care services through The Legacy at Home, including at-home nursing care and therapy, reach out to us and our knowledgeable team can answer your questions, address any concerns, and offer advice. The Legacy at Home strives to be a resource not only for our clients, but for the community as well. Call our experts at (972) 244-7701 or click here to learn more.