Top 10 Ways to Prevent Senior Falls
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
October 5, 2011
Filed Under Safety
Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
When elderly people fall down the outcome can be catastrophic:
They break bones that are fragile to begin with and have grave difficulty recovering. There are measures you can take to keep your elderly parents or those that you care for or even yourself safe and less likely to fall.
The top 10 ways to prevent senior falls include:
10. Get rid of trip hazards
Start with the basics and remove all tripping hazards, such as extension cords, loose throw carpets, toys or any object that is on the floor and shouldn’t be there because the elderly person may trip over it. Don’t wax your floors because this makes them slippery.
9. Stay fit
If the senior citizen is willing and able, enroll him in an exercise class, such as yoga, where he can do postures that will increase his flexibility, balance and strength. Or get some of the wonderful at-home yoga DVDs for convenient stretching any time. The stronger and more agile a person is the less likely he is going to fall because his balance will be better. And if the individual does fall, a strong body will sustain less damage and will recuperate faster than a frail, stiff body.
8. No alcohol
Discourage the drinking of alcohol, which alters perception and balance. Furthermore, if the elderly person is taking a multitude of drugs and drinks alcohol on top of it, this can exacerbate the effects of the drugs and alcohol making it even more likely that he will fall because he is impaired.
7. Dress for safety
Avoid wearing shoes that have slippery soles or high heels. Don’t wear loose clothing that can become tangled up in door knobs or other objects.
6. Check medications
Read the labels on all medications to see if they cause drowsiness or dizziness. If they do, take precautions. Don’t drive a car while under the influence of these drugs and be very careful when walking around your home or when operating any type of machinery that could result in serious injury if misused, which can happen if you are woozy.
5. Add home safety features
Put grab bars or handrails beside the toilet and near or in the shower and bathtub. This gives the elderly person something to hold onto when he is getting onto or off of the toilet and in and out of the bathtub or shower. Many falls occur in the bathroom and hitting hard porcelain can do serious damage to a person’s body. Your bed should adjustable for comfort and be low enough that it’s easy to get in and out of. Make sure that the stairway is well lit and there is a handrail that the individual can hold onto when going up or down stairs. Stairs can be quite treacherous for someone who is visually impaired and has balance and perception issues.
Light up the house. If it’s dark, an elderly person can’t see, obviously. His vision is probably impaired, due to age, so do not exacerbate this limitation by using low wattage bulbs, which make it even more difficult for him to see. Use night lights and dimmers, as well as motion activated lights that turn on when there is movement. Always leave a hall light on so the individual can see if he gets up to go to the bathroom at night.
3. Medical equipment options
Those individuals who use oxygen find that they often get tangled up in the oxygen line, and this causes them to fall. Retractable oxygen cords are available, which eliminates the possibility – or more likely the probability — of getting tangled up in them and falling.
2. Canes and walkers
Assist the elderly person by providing him with a cane for stability, a walker or a wheelchair if necessary. As individuals age, their balance isn’t what it once was and many need assistive devices to help them remain ambulatory and which enable seniors to maintain their balance.
1. Fall alert devices
All senior citizens should wear fall alert devices on bracelets or necklaces that they can use in the event that they have fallen and can’t get up. All they have to do is press the device, and an alert will be put out informing their family and/or 911 that they need help. This is a critical assistive device for elderly people, particularly for those who live alone.