According to the National Council on Aging, every 15 seconds older adults are seen in an Emergency Room for a fall-related injury. That’s approximately four incidences every minute.
Further, the Centers for Disease control says that falls – the majority of which occurs at home – are the leading cause of injuries or death for those over age 65. That’s why it’s so important for seniors to be vigilant about reducing their risk of falling, particularly at home.
If you have experienced a fall, then you have a greater chance of falling again. Whether you have a history of falls or not, it's still important to take precautions to avoid falling and injuring yourself.
A personalized risk assessment by a home health care professional can help you pinpoint potential dangers of slips and falls and recommend ways to keep you safe. They may also suggest assistive or personal care services to help you through your day.
Here are some tips and guidelines that everyone can use:
Safety precautions for daily activities
Be mindful of how you move through your daily activities. Even simple movements like getting out of bed or reaching for something on a shelf can have devastating consequences if you don’t use caution and care.
- Change positions slowly; sit on edge of bed, sofa, or chair for a few minutes before standing
- Place items you use daily, like a phone, TV remote, or medications within easy reach
- Use assistive devices, such as canes or walkers
- Avoid climbing ladders or step stools
- Don’t overreach or squat low to pick up items
Safety precautions for your home environment
Your home can harbor dangers that you may have never even considered. There are many things you could do around your home to reduce your chance of falling.
- Remove throw rugs
- Repair or replace worn or frayed carpet
- Rearrange furniture or clutter to allow free movement in your home
- Clear floors of papers, trash, and stored items
- Install grab bars in bathroom tub or shower
- Use a night light in the bathroom and hallways
- Keep your phone, call button, and medical alert pendant close at all times
- Repair cracks in your sidewalk and driveway
- Install handrails on stairways and your front and backdoor steps
- Trim shrubbery along the pathway to the home
- Keep walkways clear of shrubbery, snow, and ice
- Install adequate lighting by doorways and along walkways
Safety precautions for your physical well-being
Your fitness status can dramatically affect your risk of falling. Strong muscles and bones, good vision, and mental sharpness all play a role in keeping you from taking a tumble.
- Discuss with your physician any health conditions that can increase your risk of falling, such as heart problems that can make you lightheaded, or diabetes that can cause numbness in your feet
- Have your medications reviewed periodically – some have side effects that can make you tired or dizzy
- Adopt a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components
- Have your eyes checked annually, or more often if you have any vision problems
- Wear properly-fitting shoes with non-skid soles. Never walk in stocking feet
Resource Web Sites
- Aging Network Services: www.agingnets.com
- Elderweb: www.elderweb.com
- National Council on Aging: www.ncoa.org
- National Institute on Aging: www.nih.gov/nia
- National Safety Council: www.nsc.org
Many of these recommendations are simple, while others are more involved and potentially costly. If needed, you or your family members may be able to obtain help from community programs or senior organizations.
BAYADA Home Health Care can provide care to help you reduce your risk of falling and help you live safely in your home, where you want to be.
For more information on how home health care can help you maintain your independence, contact us today!