For many seniors who have lost mobility, in-home safety is one of the single most important day-to-day concerns to keep in mind. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and injury deaths for older adults (65+ years). But they do not need to be part of the aging process. There are things you can do to help prevent falls.
Risk Factors for Senior Home Accidents
What are the risk factors that can play a role in falls?:
- Trouble with walking, balance, or mobility. There could be several reasons why your senior isn’t as confident on their feet. Muscle atrophy from lack of exercise, new medications are making them dizzy, and/or they become lightheaded when they stand.
- Vision Changes. Cataracts and glaucoma can limit your senior’s vision.
- Diminished hearing. Hearing loss, which is not uncommon as we age, limits our ability to hear potential dangers.
- Household obstacles. Everyday household items can become a tripping hazard if our mobility is impaired.
How to Prevent Senior Home Accidents
By making a few small changes, you can reduce your chances of a fall.
- Talk with your health team. If your new medication is making you dizzy or disoriented talk with your in-home care provider, your family, and your doctor. A review of all of your medications – both prescribed and over-the-counter – should be a part of your annual checkup.
- Lack of exercise leads to weakened muscles and an increased chance of falls. Focus on strength building and balance. Tai Chi is a great resource.
- Have your eyes checked. Check for changes in vision, glaucoma, and cataracts at your annual eye exam.
- Remove tripping hazards. Clear your walkways, including the stairs, of shoes, reading materials, clothes. Either remove throw rugs completely or secure them with double-sided tape.
How In-Home Care Can Help
Your in-home care provider is an important part of your healthcare team. They specialize in senior care and are extremely knowledgeable about what to look for. They also have a personal interest in your loved one. Your in-home caregiver spends a lot of time with your senior. They are the first to recognize changes in their behavior and their mobility.
Since 1999, Comfort Home Care has been providing excellent senior care in Montgomery County. Our team of professionals inspects your loved one’s home to ensure it is safe for them. As part of our senior care services, we routinely check and remove tripping hazards. We will also make suggestions on other areas that could make their home safer.
Additional Home Safety Tips
Here are additional safety tips – room by room -to help your senior from falling.
- In the Kitchen: Eliminate potential fall risks by keeping the floor clear of clutter, use a nonslip mat in front of the sink and stove, and invest in easy-to-grip handles for pots, pans, and other heavy objects. Move commonly used items on lower shelves or countertops to avoid the need for a step stool.
- In the Bathroom: Add grab bars near the toilet and shower. Install a raised toilet seat and hand-held showerhead. A nightlight will illuminate the pathway.
- In the Bedroom: Place nighttime medications and a glass of water within close reach of the bed to avoid having to walk groggily to the kitchen. Keep a phone close to the bed as well for the same reason, and in case of emergencies.
- On the Stairs: Remove all clutter. Check to make sure all steps are secure. If not already installed, add handrails and lighting.
- In the Living room: Keep an eye out for cords and other tripping hazards, as well as make sure there are no loose rugs or other objects that could cause a fall.
For more on how to make a senior’s home safer and avoid accident risks, or to learn about any of our fall prevention services, speak to the pros at Comfort Home Care today.