Fall-related injuries are one of the main reasons seniors visit emergency rooms, and most falls happen at home. Although falls can cause a major medical emergency, and almost half of the elderly who fall need long term care afterwards, they are easily preventable. Try the following steps to help keep Mom or Dad from breaking a hip or suffering a traumatic brain injury, and preserve their independence for longer.
Secure Steps and Stairs
They’ve been navigating the same stairs for decades, and the carpet on them may be worn, or the bannister a little rickety –the investment in the necessary repairs is worth it. Falling is not just the number one cause of non-fatal injuries in those over 65, a quarter of those who’ve fallen do die from related injuries yearly. An unexpected flight down stairs, no matter how few, can spark serious consequences. Making sure the stairs are well lit, at the top and bottom, also helps avoid misplaced steps.
No More Slipping and Sliding
Try these tips to prevent falls at home and keep Mom on her feet –in the kitchen and bathroom areas especially:
•Fix any leaks to avoid wet surfaces that spill over onto floors.
•Non-slip mats can help.
•Ever wonder why most hotels havegrab bars in the bathroom? They don’t want to get sued if you fall. Whether or not Dad is shaking a walking stick at you in a threatening manner, have them installed at home in the shower area and near the toilet.
•A place to sit in the shower is ideal, especially if Mom gets dizzy with the falling water of the shower.
•Help Mom keep her grip on the floor by wearing street shoes indoors, instead of slippers or bare feet, and
•Most importantly, encourage her to walk slowly and not to rush.
A few simple steps to take that can help to prevent falls at home!
Pay Attention to the Floors
Well, before Dad can really watch the floors as he’s moving around, he’ll need to make sure to be prompt with his vision checks. After that:
•Mail? Child’s toy? Small pet? Make clutter a thing of the past –and keep the chihuahua out of Dad’s way.Keeping pets in check can help to prevent falls at home.
•Throw rugs can be hazardous. They’ve gotten caught in, on, under, and over my feet more times than I can count. Unless you have a good double-sided tape to deal with their edges, please take them to Goodwill.
•Furniture can be stumbling blocks when moved to places that are unlikely (according to Dad). Make sure the kids push their dining chairs back into place and try to keep all furniture stationary.
•Spills? Dry the area immediately, instead of just cleaning it up. You’d be surprised how fast Murphy’s Law can work.
Elderly Woman Performs Tai ChiImprove Balance
Tai Chi classes are highly recommended as an easy, relaxing way to improve strength, flexibility and balance to help avoid falls in the elderly. One thing is for certain, Mom grew up in a more graceful era. Tai Chi classes are popping up all over the place. check with your local senior center or YMCA to see if they have one near you. Balance is a key factor to help prevent falls at home or wherever you may be.
Regulate “Dizzy” Medications
Don’t forget to read the warning labels on medications in order to keep the doses of some prescriptions far away from others, as certain prescription cocktails can cause dizziness. At the same time, prescriptions should definitely not be mixed with alcoholic drinks — as they are fall risks in themselves. (Right?)
Always make sure during doctor visits to ask about Mom’s chances of falling. If new medications or procedures are being prescribed, or if there is a change in Mom’s health, there can be changes in Mom’s risk for falling. At times her condition may simply not be able to support her moving around on her own anymore. Her physician can recommend alternatives, whether within the home or without, to help make sure she doesn’t take a dangerous tumble. These five steps can help you prevent falls at home.