In 2018, an estimated 9,500 senior fatalities occurred from falls. More than half of all fatal falls occur for people over the age of 75. This statistic is frightening, but there are ways to prevent falls in seniors. Discover how to optimize senior mobility, prevent seniors falling, and increase independence and quality of life in late adulthood.
Why Are Seniors Falling In Their Homes?
Seniors falling in their home is not uncommon and can result in minor bruises, a broken bone requiring months of recovery and rehabilitation, or even death. Most falls occur because of the challenges of aging.
For example, older people are more prone to developing conditions like Parkinson's disease, dementia, or arthritis, creating difficulties in navigating their own homes. Confusion, unstable balance, or feeling weaker than normal may result in seniors falling in their homes and getting seriously injured.
Half of the people over the age of 65 live with arthritis, which can cause moderate to severe joint pain. The associated immobility and discomfort can be sufficient to cause a senior to lose their balance, trip, or slip while walking from one room to another. Stairs, in particular, can be dangerous.
As a consequence of poor health, some seniors may also struggle to keep the home tidy and organized, creating trip hazards, added confusion, and difficulty reaching necessary items, increasing the risk of seniors falling in their homes. If you have an older loved one whose mobility concerns you, these six tips may help prevent a devastating injury.
How To Prevent Falls In Seniors
1. Have an Honest Conversation About Risk
Having an honest conversation is essential to preventing a senior's risk of falling. If a senior you support, care for, or care about is prone to falling or you just fear a fall is imminent, talk to your loved one. Many seniors feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help, or they do not like to admit they are struggling. Reassure them more trips and falls is completely normal at their age. Provide them with practical support options. Listen to their own ideas and input to encourage continued independence with the appropriate safety measures.
2. Make Upgrades to the Home
Methods to help seniors be as independent as safely possible have progressed significantly; more importantly, these options have become more accessible. There are a variety of ways you can make your aging loved one's home safer, including :
- A stairlift
- Bath handle or shower seat
- Bed rails
- Toilet seat rise
- Dressing aids
Almost every room in your seniors’ home can be made safer. Quite a number of opportunities are available to prevent falling in the home. If you need assistance remaining in your own home or helping a senior stay independent, CareLink has services to assist with exactly this.
3. Stay Active to Improve Senior Mobility
Maintaining a regular, manageable exercise regime can help keep joints warm, prevent dizziness, and deter the development of some serious conditions. If you can get to a swimming pool, swimming or just moving and walking in water can help improve muscle strength. Dance classes and tai chi are also great ways to move slowly and gently while having a lot of fun.
If you or the senior you support are homebound, chair exercises can keep muscles strong, too. Senior mobility is a crucial element in preventing falls in seniors, so get creative with exercise ideas.
4. Wear Appropriate Clothes and Shoes
Poor-fitting shoes, oversized clothes, or clothes with features that catch on things are all causes of seniors falling in their homes. As we get older, weight change is a normal part of life. Losing weight is actually more common than gaining weight in the twilight years, but either can happen depending on your lifestyle.
Making sure clothing fits well and does not hang loose is crucial to safety. Likewise, any flowing parts of clothing or accessories must hang in a way that does not catch on door handles or cupboards. Ensure clothes are easy to put on and take off, breathable, and comfortable enough to wear all day.
Comfortable shoes with nonslip bottoms are the best choice to prevent seniors from falling. Keeping your feet warm is important; getting too cold can cause numbness and make walking difficult.
5. Keep the Home Decluttered and Organized
Keeping a tidy home can get harder with age. Disorganization or clutter can be a source of embarrassment for older people, so remind them this is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. A good declutter and tidy up will create clear paths throughout the home. You may want to consider putting up signs and labels to ensure everything is clearly available and easily found. Everything should be easy to reach without stretching. No items should be on stairs, blocking exits or jutting out into walkways.
6. Sign Up For Meals On Wheels
Meals On Wheels serves up much more than just a meal. Primarily, it allows an elderly person to receive nutritional meals on a regular basis while ensuring older adults have a friendly conversation and get regularly checked on. In fact, our Meals On Wheels volunteers are trained to check your home, ensure it is safe, and make sure you are well. Sign up for Meals On Wheels today!
More Information to Prevent Falls in Seniors
At CareLink, we are committed to supporting the independence and welfare of seniors and their families. In addition to tips for preventing falls in seniors, we can offer services such as light housekeeping, mobility assistance, personal care and grooming, meal preparation, and much more.
CareLink supports seniors in varying degrees of health with different levels of resources. We also offer Medicaid-reimbursed services and HomeCare Choices. Services may change depending on Covid-19 updates and changing regulations. Keep an eye on our Covid-19 resources page for the latest information on what we are doing.
For more information about home care services, fill out our contact form today and one of our team members will get back to you to figure out which services are best for your circumstances!