Prevention of falls in the elderly is a major goal in keeping the elderly out of the hospital and in their own independent living situation. The leading cause of accidental death in the elderly is directly related to falls. Buck and Buck would like to share some helpful tips for removing potential hazards that could lead to a fall for your elderly loved ones are:
- Check to make sure that lighting is adequate near bathrooms, stairs, and in the bedroom and kitchen. Rationale – Often the elderly may have vision loss and because they make frequent bathroom trips at night, a bright night light would be in order. Adequate lighting near areas with stairs is extremely important as the older person’s depth perception may be effected which could lead to a fall. Kitchens need adequate lighting because of the dangers inherent with heat sources like the stove, toaster, electric tea or coffee pots, etc. and water spills.
- Remove scatter rugs. Rationale – They are very easy to trip over and the elderly often do not pick up their feet as they walk.
- Make certain that extension cords and telephone cords are out of their walking paths. Rationale – Cords that are stretched across a walking area are just waiting for an accident to happen, no matter the age of the unsuspecting victim.
- Remove clutter. Rationale – Piles of magazines, papers, clothing etc. left on the floor is an obvious disaster waiting to happen and piles left on tables or chairs will eventually fall causing a barrier to trip over.
- Make certain that grab bars are installed safely and at the correct height in the shower, tub and next to the toilet. (You can easily find grab bars at hardware stores and any medical supply store.) Rationale – The elderly often have difficulty getting up from a sitting position and grab bars properly installed to accommodate their own strength and height will help to prevent a fall.
- Make certain that shower stalls and tubs have a non-slip protective coat. If this is not built into the tub or shower, you can use rubber tub mats or stick on’s for the shower floor. Rationale – Tub and shower floors are very slippery when wet and even more so if the elderly use any kind of oily skin treatment for dry skin.
- Make certain that clothes closets are arranged so the senior can reach what they need. Rationale – You definitely do not want your older loved one trying to stand on a chair to reach items in the closet. That is a real set up for a fall. Taking the time to rearrange garments with them will assure what they need is at hand and keep them off of a chair.
- Make certain that dishes, food, etc. is within reach in the kitchen. Rationale – You do not want the elderly putting themselves in a precarious situation trying to reach anything they use in the kitchen. That will also surely lead to a fall.
- Make sure that shoes and slippers have non-slip soles.
There are many things that you can do to keep your elderly loved one from experiencing a fall, especially a fall that really could have been prevented. Be a caring detective for your loved one and prevent a fall that could be a life altering change for them and for you.