As a family member, friend or neighbor of course you want what’s best for the aging person(s) in your life. As well as us here at Love Right in San Diego, CA. You can contribute to their safety with a Do-it-yourself In-Home Safety Assessment. We provide a very similar In-Home Safety Assessment with our Complimentary non-medical In-Home Care Assessment.
Fall prevention is incredibly important with one in three seniors 65 or older suffering from a fall in the United States. It plays a major role in the aging population staying out of the hospital and maintaining their independence. Follow these thorough tips to help prevent falls and accidents that could lead to serious injury.
Starting Your Safety Assessment
Fall Prevention Tips
In-home safety Outside the home:
- Clear walk ways of debris and over grown shrubs, loose stone and low hanging branches.
- If stairs are necessary to gain access to the home, we suggested installing a railing system.
- If weather is a factor; family, friends or neighbors should check periodically to make sure walking surfaces are clear of ice, snow and large puddles.
In-home safety Inside living areas:
- One of the biggest culprits of falls are…. well, rugs. Removing rugs greatly diminishes chances of trips and slips. This is the same whether in high traffic walk ways, under couches and tables or in an entrance to wipe shoes. As we age, feet are lifted less while walking, thus raising the risk of rug related falls.
- Much like rugs, electrical cords pose a similar risk for tripping. Low to the floor and a serious hazard. Remove or reroute out of walk ways and in between furniture.
- At night it is important to keep high use areas well lit. This can be achieved with extra lamps and night lights. Keeping hallways and restrooms well lit for frequent use is highly recommended. Falls are very common at night. Sleepiness and low lights contribute to a large percentage of falls and broken bones when senior adults get up to use the restroom.
In-home safety Bathrooms:
- Similar to the living areas, rugs should be removed first and the room should include good lighting. Since bathrooms have a tendency to get wet more frequently, there should be more precautions taken. Wet, slick floors contribute to a growing number of falls.
- There are many devices that can help with a safer restroom experience. Elevated toilet seats are among these devices, coming in many different designs. Effectively providing less of a gap from a standing position to sitting and an easier transition from sitting to standing. Most come with weight baring handles to assist in lowering to the seat.
- Showers and bathing areas have many hazards which has yielded many helpful devices and innovations. The shower chair is a safe alternative to bathing assistance, and has come a long way. Recent designs have allowed people to sit outside of the tub, swivel and pull themselves inside of a high-walled tub. This is a brilliant design because it has become the alternative to replacing a tub with a walk in tub or shower (very expensive). Other fantastic devices include: suction cup hand rails, removable shower heads and non-slip floor tape. Another suggestion would be to govern the hot water heater to a lower temperature to prevent burns.
In-home safety Bedrooms:
- Yet again….rugs and lighting should be the first hazard to be addressed.
- Beds are made at all different heights. If a bed is hard to get in and out of, it will be a danger to the aging. Adjust the height of the bed to allow easy sitting and standing transition. The top of the mattress should measure just above the knee for the safest results.
- A great tool for safety through the evening is a bed side commode. It’s not the most appealing piece of equipment, its’ purpose will continue to help the aging population from injury. Even as a well balanced middle aged adult, getting to the restroom in a dark, obstacle ridden room can prove dangerous.
I’ve attempted to navigate to the restroom many nights and stepped on the ‘Surprise cat-toy’ only to expose my inner dancing banshee.
Are You or a Loved One at Risk For a Fall?
I have three In-home safety answers for you: Prevention is your friend, Prevention is your friend and, you guessed it, prevention is your friend! We’ve all heard ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry.’ Statistics do not lie in the manner of people aged 65 and older being at much higher risk for falls. Its better to prepare and prevent. I have been in the Senior Care industry for almost 10 years and I consider myself and my colleagues “Crisis Prevention Professionals.” If you are age 65 or older, don’t wait until its too late! I have added some useful information in addition to the Do-it-yourself In-Home Safety Assessment. Coming from a trusted source, (The CDC, Center for Disease Control and prevention).
Data & Statistics
Rate of Nonfatal, Medically Consulted Fall Injury Episodes, by Age Group
In 2010, the overall rate of nonfatal fall injury episodes for which a health-care professional was contacted was 43 per 1,000 population. Persons aged ≥75 years had the highest rate (115).
Graphic source: MMWR Quickstats, 02/03/2012