One of the biggest threats for seniors who live alone is falls. They happen often and in many cases the senior can be left alone, injured, and unable to get help for hours or days. Too often these falls result in death.
With National Fall Day occurring this September 25, 2015, it is a great opportunity to go over where falls occur. Also, you will learn, how you can prevent falls, so your loved one stays safe in their home for years to come.
We will go room by room with most common areas where people fall, but first let’s go over how dangerous a fall can be.
- 87% of all fractures for seniors are because of falls
- Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions, and 40% of all nursing home admissions 40% of those admitted do not return to independent living; 25% die within a year.
- 1/3 of the population of 65 fall each year
Falls and Dangerous Zones In the Home
Since water can drip on the floors that are usually wood or linoleum high, many slips occur in the kitchen.
- Keep commonly used items within reach so stretching out to get items does not occur
- Don’t use floor polish
- Keep appliance cords out of the way to prevent tripping
The bathroom Is another common area where falls occur. Like kitchens, water can create a slippery floor. Additionally, falls occur in the bathroom late at night when lights are dim.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower/tub (I highly recommend screw in grab bars and not suction cup grab bars. Suction cups only need to fail once to become a mistake)
- Purchase non-slip mats
- Use a raised toilet seat so it is easier to get on and off the toilet
Living and Dining Room
Falls do occur here, but not as often as the kitchen and the bathroom, still be little changes can make the difference
- Arrange furniture to make it easier to get in and out of couches and chairs.
- Remove caster wheels so items do not unexpectedly move
- Rearrange lamps or change outlets so flipping a switch is all that is needed to turn on lights, rather than manually turning a lamp on or off.
- Use TV removes and cordless phones
Stairs and Hallways
- Keep free of clutter
- Secure carpets and remove throw rugs that are a major source of falls
- Install handrails for stability
- Make sure there is plenty of lighting
Tips To Stay Healthy, Safe, and Strong
To help prevent falls, here are some basic suggestions that go along way for many seniors.
- Getting your recommended intake of calcium with help keep bones strong.
- Getting sufficient Vitamin D from outside activities will enhance calcium absorption
- Exercising often will increase muscle and bone strength and make an individual stronger and more stable
- Getting a medical alert system will be vital in case a fall occurs a phone is not nearby.