More and more families are recognizing the benefits of in-home care. It allows seniors to maintain their independence, in surroundings they cherish, while receiving the care and support they need.
Creating a clean and hazard-free living space is essential to remain living at home. It’s important to embrace the “prevention is better than cure” when it comes to keeping your loved ones safe in their living environments.
As part of our Fall Prevention campaign that corresponds with Fall Prevention Week – September 18-22, 2023, Comfort Home Care in Rockville, MD, shares invaluable tips on creating a safe home environment for your loved one.
Falls Are The Leading Cause of Injuries Among Seniors
1-in-3 seniors fall every year resulting in over 42,000 deaths, 3 million ER visits, broken bones, and head injuries.
Fall prevention is essential to ensuring the safety and well-being of seniors and those with mobility challenges. Because falls are the leading cause of injuries among seniors, effective fall prevention strategies, including environmental modifications, physical conditioning, and education, are important to incorporate into their daily living.
1. Decluttering is Key
A tidy home is more than just visually pleasing. It also reduces tripping risks. Start by removing any unnecessary items – shoes, books, newspapers – from walkways, stairs, and main living areas. Regularly check the floors for exposed cords or wires and other potential tripping hazards to ensure the path is always clear for your loved one.
2. Proper Lighting
One of the most common causes of falls is poor lighting. You will want to make sure all areas of the home are well lit, especially during the evening. Consider installing night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to aid vision during nighttime trips to use the bathroom.
3. Secure Rugs and Carpets
Loose or unsecured rugs or carpets can be a significant tripping hazard. Secure all rugs to the floor using non-slip pads or double-sided tape. Alternatively, consider removing them altogether.
4. Install Grab Bars
The bathroom can be a particularly slippery spot. Installing grab bars in the shower, beside the toilet, and near the sink will provide extra support for balance and can help stop a fall. They offer stability and support, especially during transitioning in and out of the bathtub or shower, and on and off the commode.
5. Invest in Non-Slip Mats
Both in the bathroom and kitchen, non-slip mats can be lifesavers. They provide additional traction and reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
6. Furniture Arrangement
Ensure that furniture is arranged so that it does not obstruct pathways. Consider the individual’s mobility needs when placing furniture. For someone using a walker or wheelchair, create wider paths so they can move about more easily.
7. Maintain Outdoor Areas
While most safety measures focus on the home’s interior, outdoor areas like patios, gardens, and walkways shouldn’t be neglected. Regularly check for uneven surfaces, moss, leaves, hoses, or any other potential tripping hazards and remove them promptly.
8. Regular Maintenance Checks
From checking that stair handrails are secure to ensuring the smooth functioning of doors, regular maintenance is important. We suggest putting together a list of items to inspect – including smoke and carbon monoxide detector – and do so every month or two.
9. Personal Emergency Response Systems
A personal emergency response system can be a lifesaver in the unfortunate event of a fall or any other emergency. These devices, often worn as necklaces or bracelets, allow your loved one to alert healthcare providers or family members at the push of a button. If battery-operated, it’s vital that the batteries are checked and there is always an extra set or two of back-up batteries.
10. Encourage Safe Practices
While making environmental changes is crucial, educating your family member about safe practices is equally important. Encourage them to wear non-slip shoes, be cautious when walking, use support apparatus, and ask for help when needed.
Creating a safe environment is not a one-time task. It requires ongoing diligence, regular checks, and updates as the needs of the individual change. By decluttering spaces, securing rugs, improving lighting, and installing supportive aids like grab bars, many risks can be mitigated. While these measures might seem overwhelming initially, your professional in-home care team has a wealth of knowledge and experience. With their guidance and suggestions, these changes will become an integral part of the daily routine, ensuring peace of mind for both the caregivers and the ones receiving care.
Safety measures relating to fall prevention help protect seniors and those with mobility issues and can enhance their quality of life. If you’re in the Washington or Maryland area seeking comprehensive in-home health care solutions, there’s one name synonymous with trust and reliability –Comfort Home Care.
Your family’s safety and well-being are our utmost priority. Contact Comfort Home Care in Rockville, MD, to discuss how our in-home care services could be of assistance to you and your family.