Every year, one-third of senior adults fall, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths for seniors. Because of all of this, seniors need to take precautions to prevent falls.
There are certain contributing factors that should be addressed. Seniors who don’t exercise regularly have poor muscle tone, poor balance and decreased bone mass which can contribute to falls. As people age, their eyesight becomes impaired making it harder to see where they are walking. Certain medications, such as sedatives and anti-depressants, can increase the risk of falling. Other factors include diseases and surgeries. There are also certain environmental hazards that can be fixed to help decrease the risk of falling.
By making your senior’s home safer, you can help prevent falls.
• Use a rubber bathmat and install safety bars in the shower
• Use bright light bulbs
• Tack rugs to the floor
• Remove clutter
• Clean up spills
• Keep a portable phone nearby or use an emergency call pendant
• A stool riser seat on the toilet makes it easier to get on and off
• Arrange furniture so there is always something nearby to grab onto when walking
• Keep regularly used items in easy-to-reach places
Canes and walkers can help a senior feel more steady and balanced when walking, but they must be set to the proper height, and have rubber tips for traction.
Footwear is essential to preventing falls. Properly fitted, low-heeled, non-slip footwear is best. There are shoes, slippers and even socks with non-skid treads on the bottoms. Be sure that they do not slip off too easily.
While falls are common in seniors, there are things you can do to decrease the risk of falling. Modify and organize their home to make it safer. It is important to be careful and take the appropriate safety measures to prevent injuries.
Marie E. Littrell is the Administrator of Park View Meadows, assisted living by Americare, in Murfreesboro. She can be reached at 615.907.5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.