Fall Prevention for Seniors

Fall Prevention for Seniors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of three Americans age 65 and older falls each year. Roughly 20 percent of falls cause serious injuries including lacerations, broken bones and head injuries. Weakened balance, vision and physical strength affect an elderly person’s ability to stay on his/her feet, so regular medication reviews, and eyesight and overall health exams are essential.

Right at Home’s Fall Prevention Guide helps family caregivers and seniors identify and avert fall hazards inside and outside the home. The guide offers practical home safety tips including the following:

Bathroom

Common fall hazard: Slippery floor surfaces; towels or slippery rugs on the floor

Prevention: Lay nonslip mats on the floor and install grab bars in a contrasting color.

Bedroom

Common fall hazard: Poor lighting (especially at night)

Prevention: Ensure a light is within easy reach of the bed, and use nightlights to illuminate the path from the bed to the bathroom.

Kitchen

Common fall hazard: Unstable chairs
Prevention: Use stable, non-wheeled kitchen chairs with armrests to help older adults sit and stand up safely.

In addition to protecting older adults from indoor falls, more slips and spills occur on external premises, especially in inclement weather. Fortunately, many falls outside can be prevented through proactive measures including the following:

  • Stay aware of uneven terrain and slippery surfaces. Watch for holes, tree roots and ice.
  • Check the height of curbs and steps before stepping up on them or down from them. Curbs with inclines or cutaways for bicycles can be misleading.

Right at Home senior care providers can assist with a review of potential fall hazards and help ensure older adults feel safe, confident and comfortable living at home. The Right at Home website, rightathome.net, features a monthly elderly fall prevention blog by Dr. Rein Tideiksaar, a gerontologist and geriatric physician’s assistant.

What safeguards do you recommend for keeping older loved ones from falling at home?

Toni McKinnon
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