Senior adults living at home tend to be susceptible to falls. In fact, six out of every ten falls occur in the home. This is mainly because the home is where you spend most of your time, but it is also because there is a tendency for fall hazards to go unnoticed in a familiar setting.
Many falls are preventable, with a few simple changes. Here are a few suggestions to incorporate into your housekeeping to make the home safer for your senior loved one:
Remove anything that can cause a trip or slip while walking. Small furniture, pet bowls, electrical or phone cords are all items that can cause your loved one to slip and fall at home. Unanchored rugs or slick floors can also cause your loved one to fall, so be sure that floor surfaces are safe.
Arrange your rooms to lessen the risk of a fall. Make sure that the furniture is arranged in such a way that your loved one can move freely throughout the room and from room to room.
Add texture and non-slip surfaces to floors and steps to prevent falls. Apply non-slip strips to the steps, and add a rubber mat to the floor of the bathtub or shower. Each of these items are inexpensive applications that can be found at your local hardware store.
Clean up right away. As a part of your normal housekeeping style, make sure that all spills or wet floors are dried or cleaned up immediately. When waxing a floor, use only non-skid wax.
Use extra care during inclement weather. During the winter months, be particularly careful about sidewalks, curbs or icy steps. Even after the initial storm is over, the ice may hang on for many days following. Be sure to take extra care of these areas to prevent a fall. Use salt and sand on icy surfaces and make sure your loved one is wearing boots with good traction if you must go out.
Give careful consideration to lighting. If your rooms are dim, your loved one may be more likely to have difficulty maneuvering around the room. Make sure you use a high enough wattage to allow them to see furniture and other potential obstacles clearly.
An area that needs good lighting for older adults is the stairs. Be careful to evaluate each stairway to determine whether there is ample light for older adults to see their way up and down the stairs.
Have handrails installed where necessary. Especially in the bathroom near the tub and toilet, your loved one may require handrails to maneuver safely and avoid falls.
Be ready for an emergency. Falls may occur when something has happened to alter the home setting. In case of a power outage, for instance, have a flashlight ready in the bedside table so that your loved one will not fumble around for a source of light.
For a free home safety assessment of your senior loved's home, call Freudenthal Home Health today. We are here to support you and your loved one as you adjust to life’s changes at home.