Falls, the majority of which occur at home, are the leading cause of injuries or death for those over aged 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In recognition of National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22, BAYADA Home Health Care – a leading national provider of home health care services – offers important suggestions to help people remain safe at home and reduce their risk of falling.
“It’s important for seniors to accept that sometimes they need help to remain safe at home,”
said Sharon L. Driscoll, RN, CRRN, director in the nursing office at BAYADA. “We found that the number one reason for falls in the home is lack of supervision or assistance – not surprisingly, people want to be independent, even as they age, although for some this can be dangerous without help. We’ve trained our home health aides to better identify clients who are at risk for falling, communicate those risk factors to the client, and implement strategies and interventions in the home environment to help prevent falls whenever possible.”
Driscoll continues, “In addition, it’s critical that seniors play a role in keeping themselves safe
at home. They need to understand their risk factors and how they may need to make adjustments in their home to avoid falling. They should also pay close attention to how they feel every day – for example, if they are dizzy or weak – to determine if they may be at risk for a fall, or if they need to call their doctor or go to the emergency room.”
Joseph Daly, PT, MBA, MHA, director of rehabilitation for BAYADA, notes that one of the biggest challenges for BAYADA is convincing seniors of the potential risk that exists in their home.
“Many seniors have been in the same home for 30 or more years, and convincing them to
rearrange furniture, install a second banister, or remove throw rugs can be a lot to ask,” he
said. “For example, grab bars can help prevent falls in the bathroom, but many seniors can’t
afford the cost of purchasing and installing them. Helping seniors get assistance from community programs, neighbors, or church groups is an excellent way to help prevent
For those who do not have assistance at home, Daly recommends some simple things that
can be done to reduce their risk of falls and help them live safely in their home, where they
want to be.
- Change positions slowly; sit at edge of bed, sofa, or chair for a few minutes before standing or turning to walk
- Place daily use items like phone, TV remote, or medications within easy reach
- Use assistive devices, such as canes or walkers
- Remove throw rugs
- Repair, replace, or remove torn, worn or frayed carpet
- Widen pathways; rearrange furniture or clutter to allow free movement in home
- Clear floors of papers, trash, and stored items
- Consider installation of grab bars in bathroom tub or shower
- Use night light in bathroom or hallway
- Keep phone, call button, and medical alert pendant close at all times
- Post emergency phone numbers near the telephone